Pope Francis has encouraged young men to have the courage to embark on a vocation to the priesthood if they feel that God is calling them to ministry.
Speaking during his traditional Eastertide Regina Caeli message from the Vatican this afternoon, pope Francis also called for more international cooperation to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Today is Good Shepherd Sunday – traditionally the day when the Church focuses on the need to pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
Addressing the faithful via a video-link due to the pandemic, Francis said that the day reminds us of the Words of Jesus “that the field of the Kingdom of God requires much work, and we must pray to the Father to send labourers to work in His field.
“Christian existence is always a response to God’s call, in any state of life,” he said.
The Pontiff pointed out that “priesthood and the consecrated life require courage and perseverance; and without prayer one cannot continue along this path.”
“I invite everyone” he said, “to ask the Lord for the gift of good labourers for His Kingdom, with hearts and hands open to His love.”
Francis also expressed his prayerful solidarity with everyone suffering as a result of Covid-19.
He called for leaders “to bring together scientific capacities, in a transparent and impartial way, to find vaccines and treatments and to guarantee universal access to essential technologies that will enable every infected person, in every part of the world, to receive the necessary health care.”
The Pope endorsed a proposal of the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity that on 14 May, “believers of all religions should unite spiritually for a day of prayer and fasting, to implore God to help humanity overcome the coronavirus pandemic.”
The Pope completed the short ceremony by imparting his apostolic blessing.