Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Parents and priests are especially called to work for vocations: the first cultivating "every little germ of a vocation", the second feeling themselves called "to a stronger and more effective witness to the Gospel in today's world" . Benedict XVI recalled the 47th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which is celebrated today, "Good Shepherd" Sunday in his address to 20 thousand people present in St Peter's Square for the recitation of the Regina Caeli.
The Pope also used the occasion to thank "all those who with prayer and affection support my ministry as Successor of Peter" and to address special greeting to the Association "Meter", which for 14 years has promoted the Italian National Day for the children victims of violence, exploitation and indifference. "On this occasion - he said - I want to especially thank and encourage those dedicated to prevention and education, especially parents, teachers and many priests, nuns, catechists and facilitators who work with children in parishes, schools and associations”.
Before the Marian prayer Benedict XVI spoke of vocations, recalling the theme of the Day: "Witness Awakens Vocations”. The first form of witness that inspires vocations - he continued - is prayer, as the example of Saint Monica show us, who begging God with humility and insistence, she received the grace to see her son Augustine become a Christian. "I invite parents to pray that the hearts of their children are open to listening to the Good Shepherd, so that "the smallest seed of vocation ... become a flourishing tree, laden with fruit for the good of the Church and of humanity”
"In this day of special prayer for vocations, I especially urge ordained ministers, so that, stimulated by the Year for Priests, they feel committed 'to a stronger and more effective witness to the Gospel in today's world' (Letter for Year for Priests). May the remember that the priest continues the work of Redemption on earth'; that they may know how to gladly stand before the tabernacle, totally committed to their vocation and mission through an austere asceticism, that they may become open to listening and forgiveness; in order to form the Christian people entrusted to them and carefully cultivate the 'priestly fraternity'. "
After the Regina Caeli, the Pope noted that today in Rome and Barcelona, two priests were beatified: Angelo Paoli, a Carmelite, and José Tous y Soler, a Capuchin. "Fra Angelico Paoli, a native of Lunigiana who lived between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, was known as an Apostle of Charity in Rome and called the" father of the poor. " He devoted himself especially to the sick in San Giovanni Hospital, also taking care of convalescents. His apostolate drew strength from the Eucharist and devotion to Our Lady of Mount Caramel, as well as from an intense life of penance. In the Year for Priests I gladly propose his example to all priests, especially those who belong to religious institutes of active life. "