World Day of Prayer for Vocations: Chinese Experience
Beijing (Agenzia Fides). “Show the beauty of vocations and promote them”: is the appeal of Joseph Li Shan Bishop of the Diocese of Beijing addressed to priests, nuns, seminarians and all baptized Catholics on the occasion in view of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which this year falls on Sunday, April 30. As usual, Bishop Li Shan’s message for the Day of Vocations bears the date of the day on which the Feast of Divine Mercy was celebrated (this year, Sunday, April 16). The Bishop of Beijing also urged priests to place the call to priestly and religious life at the center of their Sunday homilies, encouraging parents to offer their sons and daughters to the Lord, and all young people to discern and welcome their vocation. “The family,” the bishop wrote, “is the home of faith, and the cradle of vocation. Parents are the best teachers to transmit the Lord’s love and teaching”.
On Sunday, April 30, as is customary, the dioceses will also send priests and seminarians from the diocesan seminary to the parishes to give witness to their priestly vocation before the people of God. At the same time, the seminary opens its doors to everyone – baptized and unbaptized – for a day of communion and fraternal sharing. Bishop Joseph Li asked everyone to experience the day by participating in the initiatives and offering prayers for vocation. On Tuesday, April 25, the feast of St. Mark, the Bishop will also preside over the liturgy of priestly ordination of Deacon Joseph Guo Chen, born in 1989 and graduated from Saint Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania (USA).
Also in the provinces of Hebei, Shaanxi and Shanxi and in many other communities across the country, numerous initiatives are planned to celebrate the Day of Prayer for Vocations and ask that many young people respond joyfully and freely to the Lord’s call: masses, prayers, exchange of experiences, visits to seminaries, spiritual retreats, conferences and competitions (for singing and articles on vocation), become occasions with which the entire Chinese Catholic community supports and spiritually and materially accompanies the blossoming of new vocations.
The World Day of Prayer also represents a fixed appointment every year for raising funds to support vocations, and all the donations collected on Sunday will be destined for the formation of seminarians and women religious in the diocese. And throughout the year, bishops and priests take advantage of every opportunity, during liturgical solemnities and secular feasts (such as the Chinese New Year), to visit the families of seminarians, priests and consecrated women, and take charge of their concrete needs. (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 22/4/2023)