ASIA/CHINA - World Day of Prayer for Spiritual Vocations: “Mission means following Christ”

Friday, 19 April 2024 mission   vocations   priests   seminaries   seminarians   local churches  

Beijing (Agenzia Fides) - A cloth bag with the "Our Father" printed on it and an invitation to everyone to always carry the Word of God with them "to be nourished by it every day". This is the unique gift distributed at the Beijing Seminary to all seminarians in anticipation of the 61st World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which this year falls on April 21, the fourth Sunday of Easter.
"The Word of God - says the booklet included in the bag - gives the strength to face the many urgencies of life and to follow the call of God in every situation; with the Word in hand and the mission in the heart, one can respond to the Lord's will in every situation". The message to all young men who feel called to the priesthood is to recognize "with wisdom and courage" what moves them to accept the mission of "becoming seminarians following Christ".
At the center of the reflections shared in the Beijing Seminary in this Easter season are the insights and suggestions contained in Pope Francis' message for the 61st World Day of Prayer for Spiritual Vocations 2024.
Bishop of Beijing, Joseph Li Shan, in turn, invited everyone to take part in the diocesan program to promote vocations in a message published on the day of prayer. Bishop Li Shan also called on Catholic families to be open to the possibility of their children pursuing the path to the priesthood and to accompany them on their vocational journey. "The family," the bishop recalled in a recent homily, "is the hearth where faith flourishes and the cradle of vocations." Parents, he added, should accompany their sons and daughters on the path to holiness and themselves act as 'good signs' on this path. In this way, young people will be able to "discern with wisdom what is eternal and what is temporary" and embrace the mission of becoming seminarians, following Jesus.
On the Day of Prayer for Spiritual Vocations, the doors of the Seminaries are open as usual to all baptized and non-baptized people to experience a time of community fraternal sharing. The dioceses will also send priests and seminarians to parishes to bear witness to their priestly vocation before the people of God.
On April 11, two young men were ordained priests in the Diocese of Datong (Shanxi Province), while in the Archdiocese of Xi'An, 13 priests celebrated their 25 years of priesthood together. (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 19/4/2024)