ASIA/CHINA - World Day of Prayer for Priestly Vocations in Catholic Communities: Between hope and crisis

Thursday, 25 April 2024

Beijing (Agenzia Fides) - The care and support of priestly and religious vocations are signs that shape the daily horizon of every baptized person. In this spirit, Catholic communities in China celebrated the 61st World Day of Prayer for Spiritual Vocations, heeding the words of Pope Francis, who in his annual message called for prayer so that all priests follow in the steps of Christ the Good Shepherd, and families encourage the flourishing of new vocations in their homes.
In the Diocese of Zhoucun (Shandong Province), Bishop Joseph Yang Yongqiang, on the occasion of the fourth local day for the promotion of spiritual vocations, realistically and honestly pointed out the critical signs in the diocese regarding the number of young men embarking on the path of priestly formation. For this reason, Bishop Yang encouraged the faithful to "pray more for vocations" and urged everyone to "show respect to the clergy and care for seminarians in every way." At the same time, he added, seminarians should learn "to become good pastors, always remembering that the original calling of every priest is to follow Jesus Christ and become like Him". In the parish of the Tangshan community (Hebei province), priests and seminarians from this community returned to their church of origin to ask everyone that "every family responds with joy and courage to the call of God's love." In the parish of Jiujiang (Jiangxi Province), the laity were asked to pray for the vocations of bishops and priests and to support them generously with material resources. In the Diocese of Nanjing, two new priests were ordained on April 21, the Day of Prayer for Vocations (see photo). "The two new priests - it was said during the ordination liturgy, in which Pope Francis’ message for the 61st World Day of Prayer for Spiritual Vocations was quoted "have accepted the call to the ordained priesthood and are devoting themselves to the proclamation of the Gospel and breaking their lives together with the Eucharistic bread for their brothers and sisters, to sow hope and show everyone the beauty of the Kingdom of God". (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 25/4/2024)