ASIA/JAPAN - Cardinal Filoni to Japanese seminarians: even the Pope is concerned about the shortage of priestly vocations

Saturday, 23 September 2017 mission   priests   vocations   evangelization  

Tokyo (Agenzia Fides) - Pope Francis, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and Japanese Bishops share the same "concern" for the shortage of priestly vocations in Japan. This is what Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, told the seminarians who study in Tokyo, who he met on the seventh day of his visit in Japan. "While your priests, who up till now have spent their lives for the Church, age", said the Prefect to the seminarians, "there appears to be no adequate vocational recovery. I would also like you to be aware that the future of the Church also depends on your generous donation to God". In this regard, in his speech held at the Seminary in Tokyo, the Cardinal acknowledged that the condition of those preparing for priesthood in a modern city full of opportunities such as Tokyo can put seminarians in a "situation of contradistinction between the values of the Gospel and those of the world", and invited them to focus their reflection on the three «prophetic signs» that accompany the priestly life: voluntary poverty, celibacy of the heart and body, obedience.
Outlining the connotations of the spirit of Christian poverty, Cardinal Filoni reminded that all goods, both material and spiritual or moral, "are like sea water and we are like a boat. "Speaking of celibacy, he emphasized that it "has a fundamentally eschatological meaning", and Jesus indicates it as a state of life chosen for love and for the kingdom of God: "With the call to consecrated life to Christ in celibacy", explained the Prefect "you are called to live in the culture of the temporary, but as witnesses of authentic love, which is never temporary. Indeed, even though most members of society presume that eternal love is impossible, everyone, in truth, is thirsty for a love without conditions or deadlines. You, with your authentic life, show in Japanese society that true love in Christ is always perpetual, faithful and generous".
After the meeting with the seminarians, Cardinal Filoni celebrated Mass in the chapel of the seminary on the day of the liturgical memory of St. Pio da Pietrelcina. "The Missionary discipleship" recalled the Prefect of Propaganda Fide in the Homily "is not born as an effort and service of ecclesial structures, but it is defined as a 'permanent going forth' with Jesus", far from the "ideologisation of the Gospel message or from ecclesial functionalism". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 23/9/2017)