Published on 15 April 2021

On Sunday 25 April we celebrate the 58th World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Pope Francis’ message on Saint Joseph and the Dream of Vocation

On Sunday 25 April we celebrate the 58th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which offers us an opportunity of prayer, meditation and deepening of the gift of Jesus’ call, a gift that invites us to follow him in a fascinating and intimate evangelical path which becomes a mission to the Church and the world.

In all the churches, including the Basilica of Saint Anthony in Padua, studies, prayer groups and testimonials will be held to live to the full the spiritual content of this particular Day.

In his message for the 2021 World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis said,

Saint Joseph is an extraordinary figure, yet at the same time one ‘so close to our own human experience’. He did not do astonishing things, he had no unique charisms, nor did he appear special in the eyes of those who met him. He was not famous or even noteworthy: the Gospels do not report even a single word of his. Still, through his ordinary life, he accomplished something extraordinary in the eyes of God.

The Lord looks on the heart (cf. 1 Sam 16:7), and in Saint Joseph he recognized the heart of a father, able to give and generate life in the midst of daily routines. Vocations have this same goal: to beget and renew lives every day. The Lord desires to shape the hearts of fathers and mothers: hearts that are open, capable of great initiatives, generous in self-giving, compassionate in comforting anxieties and steadfast in strengthening hopes. The priesthood and the consecrated life greatly need these qualities nowadays, in times marked by fragility, but also by the sufferings due to the pandemic, which has spawned uncertainties and fears about the future and the very meaning of life. Saint Joseph comes to meet us in his gentle way, as one of ‘the saints next door’. At the same time, his strong witness can guide us on the journey.

I like to think of Saint Joseph, the protector of Jesus and of the Church, as the protector of vocations. In fact, from his willingness to serve comes his concern to protect. The Gospel tells us that ‘Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night’ (Mt 2:14), thus revealing his prompt concern for the good of his family. He wasted no time fretting over things he could not control, in order to give full attention to those entrusted to his care. Such thoughtful concern is the sign of a true vocation, the testimony of a life touched by the love of God.”



Photo credit Giorgio Deganello - Archivio Messaggero di sant'Antonio