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St. John Paul II: “The lament of Christ touches our persons deeply…”

From the message of the Holy Father John Paul II for the XXI World Day for Vocations (1984)


As Pastor of the universal Church, I cannot fail once again to open my heart to you and to express the solicitude which constantly animates me for the effective increase of vocations to the sacred ministry, to the consecrated life in its various forms and to the missionary life. This is, in fact, a problem of vital and fundamental importance for the community of believers and for all humanity….

The Good Shepherd manifests the desire to continually increase his flock. Indeed, there are other sheep outside the fold (cf. Jn 10:16). He always has before his eyes the dramatic experience of the multitudes of all times, “exhausted and dejected like sheep without a shepherd”, which makes him exclaim: “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (Mt 9:36-37). The compassionate lament of the Heart of Christ is repeated over time and impresses us deeply. Who can remain insensitive in the face of the dizzying increase in the need for evangelization? The divine Redeemer asks us all to collaborate so that there will never be a lack of Gospel workers, so that there will always be men and women determined to consecrate themselves entirely to the service of the People of God.

Don’t stop praying for us!

Message from Fr. Bernardo Ibarra

Dear women of the 40 hours,

Today, the stakes are high. We live in difficult times. And as the saying goes: “for great evils, there are great remedies”. Hence, the origin of the 40 hours for vocations. This is the great remedy which we must make use of in our time: to increase priestly and religious vocations.

Some will say that it is better to do something else, or that there are really more important things to worry about, such as poverty, war, drug consumption, etc., but it is not so. The most important thing is always to have the road to Heaven open, because, as the great Fulton Sheen said: “if souls are not saved, then nothing is saved”. It is of no use to stop having poor people if there are no priests. It is of no use for war to cease if those men who bring God made man to our altars are missing. It is of no use.

Hence, the urgency of the hour and the need to kneel before the Tabernacle is imperative and request for what He commanded us to ask for: “an increase of workers for the harvest”.

The tireless missionary from Alaska, Segundo Llorente, was consumed by the desire to foster vocations. Although it was very difficult for him to do so among the Eskimos, he still urged the Lord that he could  bring forth thousands of priests and religious in other lands. He had a lively longing to be the Lord’s instrument in this noble task. Every other great soul cannot but have these same vocational desires.

The times we live in are pressing and oblige us to pay attention to what is essential: souls must be saved. “Give me souls,” Don Bosco used to say, “and keep the rest”. May this be the motto of the women of the 40 Hours, so that having this inner fire in their hearts they may attain for God thousands of new vocations for his Church, always remembering that “he who seeks finds”. 

God bless you, 

Fr. Bernardo Ibarra, IVE

Prayer of St. Therese of the Child Jesus for the Sanctification of Priests

O Jesus, Eternal Priest,

who has instituted the priesthood to continue on earth

the divine work of saving souls,

keep Your priests (specially: …………)

within the shelter of Your Most Sacred Heart,

where none can touch them.

Keep unstained their anointed hands,

which daily touch Your Sacred Body.

Keep unsullied their lips daily tinged with Your Precious Blood.

Keep pure and unworldly their hearts,

sealed with the sublime mark of the priesthood.

Let Your Holy Love surround and protect them from the world’s contagion.

Bless their labors

with abundant fruit

and may the souls to whom they minister be their joy and consolation here,

and their everlasting crown in the hereafter.