During the Regina Caeli from the Vatican Library, Pope Francis spoke about the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. In light of the pandemic crisis, the pontiff called for international collaboration to "find vaccines and treatments" for everyone. There will be a day of prayer, fasting and works of charity for all believers on 14 May. Marian pilgrimages will only be virtual.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – On Good Shepherd Sunday, the fourth after Easter, the Church celebrated the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. For this reason, after the Regina Caeli prayer, Pope Francis invited everyone to ask “the Lord for the gift of good labourers for his Kingdom, with heart and hands [made] available for his love”.
Streamed live from the Apostolic Library because of the coronavirus emergency, Francis explained: "Christian existence is always a response to God’s call, in any state of life. This Day reminds us of what Jesus said one day, namely that the field of the Kingdom of God requires a lot of work, and we must pray to the Father to send labourers to work in his field (cf. Mt 9:37-38). The priesthood and consecrated life require courage and perseverance; without prayers one does not go forth on this path.”
Earlier, the Pope focused on the Gospel passage (John 10:1-10) in which, regarding the Good Shepherd, it is said that “the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name" (Jn 10.3).
After explaining how to recognise "God’s voice” as well as that “of the enemy,” the pontiff said: "Dear brothers and sisters, at this time so many thoughts and concerns lead us to turn inward. Let us heed the voices that reach our heart. Let us ask ourselves where they come from. Let us ask for the grace of recognizing and following the voice of the Good Shepherd, who brings us out of the enclosures of selfishness and leads us into the pastures of true freedom. May Our Lady, Mother of Good Counsel, guide and accompany our discernment.”
Concerns and awareness of the situation in a world affected by coronavirus prompted Francis to express his "closeness to people with COVID-19, to those who dedicate themselves to their care and to all those who, in any way, are suffering because of the pandemic.”
Right after the Marian prayer, he added: “At the same time, I wish to support and encourage the international collaboration that is taking place through various initiatives, in order to respond adequately and effectively to the serious crisis that we are [currently] experiencing.
“It is important in fact to harness the power of science in a transparent and disinterested way to find vaccines and treatments and to guarantee universal access to essential technologies that allow every infected person, in every part of the world, to receive the necessary health care.”
The pope also called on everyone to be available for the day proposed by the High Committee for Human Fraternity, "so that next 14 May, believers of all religions will join spiritually in a day of prayer, fasting and works of charity, to implore God to help humanity overcome the coronavirus pandemic.”
Finally, Francis noted that, due to the pandemic, this year’s pilgrimages to Marian shrines in May, which is dedicated to Mary, will only be virtual, spiritually going “to these places of faith and devotion, to lay in the heart of the Holy Virgin our concerns, expectations and plans for the future.”