Address on World Day of Prayer for Vocations
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 21, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Following
an ordination Mass, John Paul II appeared at midday at the window of his study and appealed for prayers for
all priests and for the Holy Land. Here is a translation of the address he gave before reciting the Regina
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
1. This morning, I ordained 20 new priests of the
Diocese of Rome in St. Peterīs Basilica. I renew my cordial greetings to them, which I also extend to their
relatives and those who are with them on this unique and unforgettable day. Dear new priests, if the young
are the hope of the Church, how much more so are you, young priests! This is why I address to you,
especially, the words that, as you know, are the theme of the next World Youth Day: "You are the salt of the
earth. ... You are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:13).
2. In keeping with a significant tradition, today, the Fourth Sunday of Eastertide, the
World Day of Prayer for Vocations is observed. This Sunday is known as that "of the
Good Shepherd," because in the Gospel Jesus attributes to himself this eloquent biblical title. With eyes fixed on him, I pray for all the priests who were or will be
consecrated during this year, so that they will give a valid witness of the Good
Shepherd with the holiness of their life and ministry. I invite all to raise a united
invocation to God, especially on this day, so that numerous and holy vocations will
flower to the priesthood and consecrated life.
3. Our intense prayer also continues for the situation in the Holy Land from whence,
unfortunately, worrying news and images of destruction do not cease to arrive. They
are images that are more forceful than any appeal and demand that no attempt be neglected at every level so that that land, blessed by God, be extricated as soon as
possible from the spiral of hatred and violence.
Every day, in particular, I go to Bethlehem spiritually, to the Basilica of the Nativity,
where I lived through unforgettable moments in the course of my Jubilee pilgrimage.
For almost 20 days, the basilica and adjacent buildings have been the scene of
clashes, blackmail and unbearable mutual accusations. May that place, and all holy
places soon be restored to prayer and pilgrims, to God and man!
May Mary Most Holy obtain for the parties in conflict the courage of peace, and for the
international community the tenacity of solidarity. May Israelis and Palestinians be
able to learn to live together, and may the Holy Land at last return to being a sacred
land and a land of peace!