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The world needs God and …it will always need people who live for Him and announce Him to others".

 

MESSAGE TO LATIN-AMERICAN CONGRESS FOR VOCATIONS

 

The following is the message from Benedict XVI to the second Latin-American Continental Congress for Vocations, which was held in Cartago, Costa Rica, from 31 January to 5 February. The first congress, organised by the Holy See and the Latin-American Confederation of Religious, was celebrated seventeen years ago, while the current gathering is the result of an initiative by bishops responsible for the pastoral care of vocations in Latin America and the Caribbean.

 

  "The great task of evangelisation requires an ever increasing number of people to respond generously to the call of God and make a lifelong commitment to the cause of the Gospel", the Pope writes. "One precious fruit of incisive missionary action, along with a general strengthening of Christian life, is the increase in vocations of special consecration. In some way, the abundance of vocations is an eloquent sign of ecclesial vitality, and of a faith that is deeply experienced by all members of the People of God".

 

   "In this second congress - which has as its theme "Master, in Your Name will I Cast my Nets" - those who work in the field of the pastoral care of vocations in Latin America and the Caribbean have come together with the aim of strengthening vocational pastoral care, that baptised people may answer the call to become disciples and missionaries of Christ. ... Pastoral care of vocations must be fully integrated into more general pastoral care, and should have a capillary presence in all fields of pastoral work. ... Experience shows us that, where vocational pastoral care is well planned and constantly practiced, vocations are not lacking. God is generous, and our own commitment to vocational pastoral care in all particular Churches must be equally generous".

 

   "Vocations", Benedict XVI continues his Message, "are not the result of any human project, or of some efficient organisational strategy. At the deepest level, they are a gift of God. ... It is important to recall the primacy of the life of the spirit as the basis of all pastoral planning. The young generations must be given the chance to open their hearts to a greater reality: to Christ, the only One Who can give meaning and fullness to their lives. ... Yet at the same time, the strengthening of our spiritual life must lead us increasingly to identify ourselves with the will of God, and to offer a clearer and more transparent testimony of faith, hope and charity".

 

   "Faithful and joyful witness of one's own vocation has been and remains an excellent way to awaken in young people the desire to follow the footsteps of Christ. This must be accompanied by the courage to propose to them, with delicacy and respect, the possibility that God may be calling them too. Often, the divine vocation opens its way through human words, or thanks to an environment in which people experience a living faith. ... The world needs God", the Pope concludes, "and for this reason it will always need people who live for Him and announce Him to others".


 

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