World Day of Prayer for Vocations 2022: Pope Francis says ‘Church must become increasingly synodal’

CNA Staff   By CNA Staff


Pope Francis lays hands on a Bangladeshi deacon as he ordains him to the priesthood during a Dec. 1, 2017, Mass in Dhaka. / Vatican Media.

Vatican City, May 5, 2022 / 04:00 am (CNA).

Pope Francis said on Thursday that “the Church must become increasingly synodal.”

The pope made the comment in his annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations message, published May 5, as Catholics worldwide participate in a global consultation process leading to the 2023 Synod on Synodality.

In the message, he emphasized that vocations have a communal as well as a personal dimension.

He wrote: “Each of us shines like a star in the heart of God and in the firmament of the universe. At the same time, though, we are called to form constellations that can guide and light up the path of humanity, beginning with the places in which we live.”

“This is the mystery of the Church: a celebration of differences, a sign, and instrument of all that humanity is called to be.”

“For this reason, the Church must become increasingly synodal: capable of walking together, united in harmonious diversity, where everyone can actively participate and where everyone has something to contribute.”

The 59th World Day of Prayer for Vocations will take place on May 8, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, also known as Good Shepherd Sunday. The annual event was launched by Pope St. Paul VI in 1964.

In the 1,600-word message titled “Called to Build the Human Family,” the pope reflected “on the broader meaning of ‘vocation’ within the context of a synodal Church, a Church that listens to God and to the world.”

He underlined that the word “vocation” should not be understood as referring only to priests and religious.

“All of us are called to share in Christ’s mission to reunite a fragmented humanity and to reconcile it with God,” he said.

“Each man and woman, even before encountering Christ and embracing the Christian faith, receives with the gift of life a fundamental calling: each of us is a creature willed and loved by God; each of us has a unique and special place in the mind of God.”

“At every moment of our lives, we are called to foster this divine spark, present in the heart of every man and woman, and thus contribute to the growth of a humanity inspired by love and mutual acceptance.”

He said that Christian history showed that God has a vision for each person’s life.

“Michelangelo Buonarroti is said to have maintained that every block of stone contains a statue within it, and it is up to the sculptor to uncover it,” he wrote.

“If that is true of an artist, how much more is it true of God! In the young woman of Nazareth, he saw the Mother of God. In Simon the fisherman, he saw Peter, the rock on which he would build his Church.”

“In the publican Levi, he recognized the apostle and evangelist Matthew, and in Saul, a harsh persecutor of Christians, he saw Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles.”

“God’s loving gaze always meets us, touches us, sets us free, and transforms us, making us into new persons. That is what happens in every vocation: we are met by the gaze of God, who calls us.”

Pope Francis encouraged Catholics to welcome God’s gaze and enter into a “vocational dialogue” with the Lord and others. He said that this dialogue “makes us become ever more who we are.”

“In the vocation to the ordained priesthood, to be instruments of Christ’s grace and mercy,” he wrote. “In the vocation to the consecrated life, to be the praise of God and the prophecy of a new humanity. In the vocation to marriage, to be mutual gift and givers and teachers of life. In every ecclesial vocation and ministry that calls us to see others and the world through God’s eyes, to serve goodness and to spread love with our works and words.”

The pope highlighted the example of José Gregorio Hernández Cisneros, a medical doctor who died in 1919.

“While working as a physician in Caracas, Venezuela, he wanted to become a Third Order Franciscan. Later, he thought of becoming a monk and a priest, but his health did not allow it,” the pope noted.

“He came to understand that his calling was the medical profession, in which he spent himself above all in service to the poor. He devoted himself unreservedly to those who had contracted the worldwide epidemic known as the ‘Spanish flu.’”

“He died, hit by a car, as he was leaving a pharmacy after purchasing medicine for one of his elderly patients. An exemplary witness of what it means to accept the call of the Lord and embrace it fully, he was beatified a year ago.”

The Synod on Synodality is a global, two-year consultative process of “listening and dialogue” that began in October 2021. The first stage is a diocesan phase expected to last until Aug. 15.

The Vatican has asked all dioceses to participate, hold consultations, and collect feedback on specific questions laid out in synod documents.

At the end of the current process, an assembly of the Synod of Bishops is scheduled to take place in Rome in October 2023 to produce a final document to advise the pope.

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  1. We read: “…the Church must become increasingly synodal: capable of walking together, united in harmonious diversity….” And, that “Michelangelo Buonarroti…maintained that every block of stone contains a statue within it, and it is up to the sculptor to uncover it.”

    All well and good…

    But as for the difference between harmony and CACOPHONY, in the spirit of complete dialogue we welcome the fraternal corrections, open letters recently offered by groups of cardinals and bishops, toward their fraternity brothers in Germany.

    The frat-house orgy is over.

    Now, for real dialogue on the difference between synod and sin-nod! Too bad that pre-emptively open and rainbow-hatted Cardinal Hollerich, the termite relator-general for the 2023 Synod on Synodality, is still on THE AGENDA.

    In the few years before 2008, BAD-APPLE real estate investments were diluted into (deluded into!) a larger barrel of investment tools—-leading to the national and then INTERNATIONAL RECESSION of short memory. Now, a repeat performance if the German synodal bad apple is simply added to the global Synodal barrel, under the rubric that “everyone can actively participate and where everyone has something to contribute.”

    In his biographical novel on Michelangelo (“The Agony and the Ecstasy”) Irving Stone noticed that the artist first inspected the marble blocks in the quarry, in the morning sunlight, to notice in advance whether the stone with the possible sculpture within was FRACTURED AND TO BE REJECTED, or not.

    NOT “every block of stone contains a statue.”

    • From the UK’s Daily Mail in 2014: “Achilles had his heel and now, it seems, David has his ankles.

      Michelangelo’s sculpture of the biblical king, carved more than 500 years ago, is at risk of crumbling as cracks have appeared in its ankles.

      Scientists at Florence University and Italy’s National Research Council warned on Wednesday that the tiny fractures, both in the ankles and also the carved tree stump which supports some of the statue’s weight, could cause one of the world’s most famous pieces of art to collapse.”

  2. The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. May the Lord of the harvest inspire generous laborers to joyfully serve in his vineyard.

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