WILKES-BARRE – Saint Nicholas Church, 226 South Washington Street, will be the location for the Diocese of Scranton’s annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations Mass on Sunday, April 21, 2024.

The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, will be the principal celebrant for the 12:15 p.m. liturgy, which will be held in Spanish.

The purpose of World Day of Prayer for Vocations is to publicly fulfill the Lord’s instruction to, “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest” (Mt 9:38; Lk 10:2).

While those in attendance will pray for all those discerning and living out their vocation, on this weekend the Church concentrates its attention on vocations to the ordained ministries (priesthood and diaconate), consecrated life in all its forms (male and female religious life, societies of apostolic life, consecrated virginity), secular institutes in their diversity of services and membership, and to the missionary life.

This year, 2024, marks the 61st anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

May Christ the Good Shepherd guide and protect us as we respond to our vocations in total surrender to Him!

In a hostile world, the vocation of Christians is to hope, Pope Francis says

Though the global situation risks plunging people into pessimism, Christians are called to pursue their vocation of becoming “men and women of hope,” Pope Francis said.

“As individuals and as communities, amid the variety of charisms and ministries, all of us are called to embody and communicate the Gospel message of hope in a world marked by epochal challenges,” the pope wrote in his message for World Day of Prayer for Vocations April 21.

Global challenges such as war, migration, rising poverty rates and climate change, in addition to personal difficulties encountered daily, “risk plunging us into resignation or defeatism,” the pope wrote in the message. He encouraged Christians to instead “cultivate a gaze full of hope and work fruitfully in response to the vocation we have received, in service to God’s kingdom of love, justice and peace.”

To be “pilgrims of hope and builders of peace” means “to base our lives on the rock of Christ’s resurrection, knowing that every effort made in the vocation that we have embraced and seek to live out will never be in vain,” the pope wrote.

Pursuing a vocation, he explained, is not an imposed duty but rather “the surest way for us to fulfill our deepest desire for happiness.”

“Our life finds fulfillment when we discover who we are, what our gifts are, where we can make them bear fruit, and what path we can follow in order to become signs and instruments of love, generous acceptance, beauty and peace wherever we find ourselves,” he wrote.

The pope expressed his gratitude for the “hidden efforts” of those who consistently respond to their calls in life, namely parents, workers, consecrated men and women and priests, and he urged young people to make room for Jesus in their lives in order to discover their vocation.

“Let Jesus draw you to himself; bring him your important questions by reading the Gospels; let him challenge you by his presence, which always provokes in us a healthy crisis,” he told young people.

The pope also highlighted the “synodal character” of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, noting how “amid the variety of our charisms, we are called to listen to one another and to journey together in order to acknowledge them and to discern where the Spirit is leading us for the benefit of all.”

Pope Francis encouraged people to prepare for the Holy Year 2025 by engaging in the current year of prayer, in which “all of us are called to rediscover the inestimable blessing of our ability to enter into heartfelt dialogue with the Lord and thus become pilgrims of hope.”

Prayer, he added, “is more about listening to God than about talking to him.”

The pope called on Christians to “open the doors of the prison in which we so often enclose ourselves, so that each of us can discover his or her proper vocation in the Church and in the world.”

“Let us be passionate about life and commit ourselves to caring lovingly for those around us in every place where we live,” he wrote.