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The Power of Hope

Dear Moms of The 40 Hours Project,

As we begin this new year, we want to thank you for your prayers during the year that has ended, and encourage you to continue to pray and work for vocations.

With immense gratitude, we see that our Religious Family of the Incarnate Word continues to be blessed with vocations. Currently the Institute of the Incarnate Word has 112 novices. In the year 2021, 80 made their first vows; there were 26 newly-ordained priests; 22 others professed final vows, most of whom were ordained deacons. The Institute of the Servants of the Lord today has 119 novices; 102 sisters professed first vows and 43 professed perpetual vows in 2021.

In the document New Vocations for a New Europe we read: “’Hope is the secret of the Christian life and the breath which is absolutely necessary for the Church’s mission, particularly vocations ministry… Therefore we must regenerate it in priests, educators, Christian families, religious families, secular institutes, in all those who must serve life with the new generations.’

“…Filled with the same hope we address you parents, called by God to collaborate with His will in giving life, and you educators, teachers, catechists and promoters, called by God to collaborate in different ways in His plan of formation for life. We wish to tell you how much the Church appreciates your vocation, and how much it relies on your vocation to promote the vocations of your children and a real and proper vocational culture.”

Surely grounded in this same hope, we can also turn to you, mothers of The 40 Hours, called to pray and offer sacrifices for the increase, perseverance, and holiness of priestly and consecrated vocations. How important it is to fulfill the command of our Lord: “Pray, therefore, the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Mt 9:38). How important are your prayers for the strength of priests, missionaries, and consecrated souls, who yearn with their daily surrender to draw closer to God and dedicate themselves to the salvation of souls.

Dear mothers, with great confidence in the teaching of Jesus Christ who tells us: “Truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven” (Mt 18:19), let us continue to be united from more than 70 countries in praying for priests and religious. May God continue to bless the Church with abundant and holy vocations.

Prayer of St. John Paul II for Vocations

Holy Father, eternal source of existence and love,
who, in living man, show the splendour of your glory,
and who put in his heart the seed of your call,
let no-one, by reason of our negligence, ignore or lose this gift,
but may everyone walk, with wholehearted generosity,
towards the realisation of your Love.

Lord Jesus, who in your pilgrimage along the roads of Palestine,
chose and called the apostles and entrusted to them their task
of preaching the Gospel, feeding the faithful and celebrating divine worship,
ensure that today, too, your Church may not lack
numerous holy priests, who can bring to all
the fruits of your death and resurrection.

Holy Spirit, who sanctify the Church
with the constant pouring out of your gifts,
place into the hearts of those called to the consecrated life
a deep-rooted and resolute passion for the Kingdom,
so that with a generous and unconditioned “yes”,
they may place their entire existences at the service of the Gospel.

Most holy Virgin, who without hesitation
offered yourself to the Almighty
for the carrying out of his plan of salvation,
pour trust into the hearts of young people
so that there may always be zealous pastors
who are able to guide the Christian people on the way of life,
and consecrated souls who may know how to witness,
in chastity, poverty, and obedience,
to the freeing presence of your risen Son.

From the Vatican, 14th September 2000.