The Southeast Alaska Catholic
February 2012

By Francis X. Rocca

Catholic News Service

SEMINARIAN WAVES DURING PROCESSION OUTSIDE NEW YORK CATHEDRAL Lucon Rigaud, who is studying to be a priest for the Diocese of Brooklyn, N.Y., waves as he processes with fellow seminarians into St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre, N.Y., prior to the ordination of Father John Sureau Dec. 3, 2011. Love of God nurt ures love of neighbor, especially in people with vocations to the priesthood or religious life, said Pope Benedict XVI in his message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. (CNS)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Love of God nurtures love of neighbor, especially in people with vocations to the priesthood or religious life, said Pope Benedict XVI in his message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

The papal message for the 49th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which will be observed April 29, was released Feb. 13 at the Vatican.

“The profound truth of our existence is thus contained in this surprising mystery: Every creature, and in particular every human person, is the fruit of God’s thought and an act of his love, a love that is boundless, faithful and everlasting,” Pope Benedict wrote.

“It is in this soil of self-offering and openness to the love of God, and as the fruit of that love, that all vocations are born and grow. By drawing from this wellspring through prayer, constant recourse to God’s word and to the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, it becomes possible to live a life of love for our neighbors, in whom we come to perceive the face of Christ the Lord,” the pope wrote.

Pope Benedict wrote that love of both God and other people “must be lived with a particular intensity and purity of heart by those who have decided to set out on the path of vocation discernment towards the ministerial priesthood and the consecrated life.”

Calling on the church to “create the conditions that will permit many young people to say ‘yes’ in generous response to God’s loving call,” the pope recommended “Scripture, prayer and the Eucharist” as the most valuable means “enabling us to grasp the beauty of a life spent fully in service of the kingdom.”

Quoting his predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, Pope Benedict called families the “primary and most excellent seedbed of vocations to a life of consecration to the kingdom of God.