VATICAN CITY, 25 APR 2010 (VIS) - At midday today, Good Shepherd Sunday and the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Regina Coeli with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.
The Pope quoted the theme of this year's World Day, "witness awakens vocations", noting how it is "closely linked to the life and mission of priests and of consecrated persons.
"The first form of witness that awakens vocations is prayer", he added, calling on parents to pray that "their children's hearts may open to listening to the Good Shepherd", because He alone "protects His flock with immense tenderness and defends it from evil, and in Him alone can the faithful place their absolute trust".
The Holy Father continued: "On this day of special prayer for vocations, I particularly encourage ordained ministers, stimulated by the Year for Priests, to feel a commitment 'to interior renewal for the sake of a stronger and more incisive witness to the Gospel in today's world'; to remember that the priest 'continues the work of redemption on earth'; to pause 'frequently before the tabernacle'; to remain 'completely faithful to their vocation and mission through the practice of an austere asceticism': to make themselves available for listening and forgiveness; to undertake the Christian formation of the people entrusted to their care; and to cultivate 'priestly fraternity'".
After praying the Regina Coeli, Benedict XVI turned his attention to two priests, Angelo Paoli and Jose Tous y Soler, today proclaimed as Blesseds in, respectively, Rome and Barcelona, Spain. The former was an "apostle of charity in Rome, nicknamed the 'father of the poor'. He dedicated himself particularly to sick and convalescent people in the hospital of San Giovanni".
Jose Tous y Soler, founder of the Institute of the Capuchin sisters of the Mother of the Divine Shepherd, despite numerous trials and difficulties, never allowed himself to be overcome with bitterness or resentment. He stood out for his exquisite charity and his capacity to bear and understand the shortcomings of others", said the Pope.