USCCB News Release
April 6, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Parishes Nationwide Urged to Observe World Day of Prayer for Vocations First Sunday of May
WASHINGTON—Parishes nationwide are urged to mark the 46th World Day of Prayer for Vocations on May 3, the first Sunday in May.
Remembrances can include everything from special petitions in the Prayer of the Faithful and homilies on the role of prayer in fostering vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, to highlighting the vocations that have come from a parish and diocese.
Pope Benedict XVI stressed the importance of prayer in his message from the Vatican with the theme "Faith in the divine initiative – the human response."
The first duty, he said, "is to keep alive in families and in parishes, in movements and in apostolic associations, in religious communities and in all the sectors of diocesan life this appeal to the divine initiative with unceasing prayer."
He added that "what is asked of those who are called, for their part, is careful listening and prudent discernment, a generous and willing adherence to the divine plan, and a serious study of the reality that is proper to the priestly and religious vocations, so as to be able to respond responsibly and with conviction." Pope Benedict's entire message can be found in English and in Spanish on the Web site of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) at http://www.usccb.org/cclv/.
Father James Steffes, director of the U.S. Bishops' Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, reiterated the need for prayer.
"We need to give ourselves to humble prayer, good discernment and a free response for the sake of His salvific plan," he said. "It takes courage, generosity and sacrifice to respond to God's will, but one has everything to gain from a good and generous God."
According to the 2008 Official Catholic Directory, there are 28,000 diocesan priests, 13,300 religious order priests, 5,040 religious brothers and 63,000 women religious in the United States.
--- Keywords: World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Benedict XVI, USCCB, Father James Steffes, vocations, priesthood, consecrated life, clergy