Pope Francis’ message for World Day of Prayer for Vocations stresses fraternity, hope — By: Catholic News Agency

Pope Francis addresses the faithful at his Wednesday general audience on Feb. 28, 2024. / Credit: Vatican Media

Rome Newsroom, Mar 19, 2024 / 13:30 pm (CNA).

Pope Francis on Tuesday released his message for the 61st World Day of Prayer for Vocations, reflecting on the Christian pilgrimage as a synodal journey that is rooted in hope and aimed toward discovering God’s love. 

The theme for the this year’s World Day of Prayer for Vocations, “Called to Sow Seeds of Hope and to Build Peace,” reflects the universal Christian call to “base our lives on the rock of Christ’s resurrection, knowing that every effort made in the vocation that we have embraced and seek to live out will never be in vain,” the pope said. 

This year the Church celebrates the World Day of Prayer for Vocations on April 21.

“This ultimate calling is one that we must anticipate daily,” the pope observed. “Even now our loving relationship with God and our brothers and sisters is beginning to bring about God’s dream of unity, peace, and fraternity.”

The pope noted that this process of discernment assumes a “synodal character,” as the Church has a “polyphony of diverse charisms and vocations.”

“Amid the variety of our charisms, we are called to listen to one another and to journey together in order to acknowledge them and to discern where the Spirit is leading us for the benefit of all,” the pope observed.

Francis reinforced this observation by pointing to the theme of the 2025 Jubilee Year, “Pilgrims of Hope.” 

“We can become for our world messengers and witnesses of Jesus’ dream of a single human family, united in God’s love and in the bond of charity, cooperation, and fraternity,” the Holy Father said. 

For the pope, the pilgrimage is a journey that has a regenerative effect as man carries “only the essentials” while “striving daily to set aside all weariness, fear, uncertainty, and hesitation” in order to “discover the love of God.”

“Being a pilgrim,” Francis continued, “means setting out each day, beginning ever anew, rediscovering the enthusiasm and strength needed to pursue the various stages of a journey that, however tiring and difficult, always opens before our eyes new horizons and previously unknown vistas.” 

But the pope also noted that this journey is a process of self-discovery, which is “nourished by our relationships with others.”

“We are pilgrims because we have been called, called to love God and to love one another,” he said. 

The Holy Father emphasized that this pilgrimage, or process, is “far from a pointless journey or aimless wandering” but is instead a process by which humans can work “toward a new world where people can live in peace, justice, and love.” 

Francis also directed this call to today’s youth — especially those who feel estranged or suspicious of the Church — with the pope encouraging them to bring Christ the “important questions.” 

“Let him challenge you by his presence, which always provokes in us a healthy crisis. More than anyone else, Jesus respects our freedom. He does not impose but proposes. Make room for him and you will find the way to happiness by following him. And, should he ask it of you, by giving yourself completely to him.”

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