Monday, June 28, 2010

St. Hannibal Mary di Francia: Entire Church Must Pray for Vocations

To spread the prayer for vocations he promoted several initiatives: he had personal epistolary contacts with the Popes of his time, he instituted a "Holy Alliance", a movement of prayer for vocations intended for the clergy, and the "Pious Union of the Evangelical Rogation" for all the faithful. He published the periodical "God and Neighbor", to involve everyone in these ideals.

"The entire Church must formally pray for this aim," he wrote, "because the purpose of the prayer to gain vocations must concern all the faithful, every Christian who has at heart the good of souls and, in a particular way, the Bishops who are the shepherds of the spiritual flock and to whom souls are entrusted. They are the living Apostles of Jesus Christ today." The annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations instituted by Pope Paul VI in 1964 can be considered a response to his intuition.

His love for the priesthood was great. He strongly believed that the world could be redeemed only through the work of many holy priests. That is why he was deeply concerned with the spiritual formation of the seminarians entrusted to him by the Bishop of Messina. He used to say that without a lot of prayer and a solid spiritual training, "all the efforts of bishops and of seminary educators would only result in artificial priests". He strove to become himself a model of the "good laborer" of the Gospels, and to be a priest according the Heart of Jesus. His charity knew no bounds, and was directed towards all kinds of people in need, including priests facing difficulties and cloistered nuns. (

Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest, Mother of all priests and our Mother, help us respond generously to the Holy Spirit's request, through the voice of His Church, to offer up to God Eucharistic adoration for priests. Amen.

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