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The Catholic sacrament of vocations is a sacred calling from God to fulfill a particular role in His plan for the world. It encompasses the recognition and response to one's unique gifts and talents, as well as the discernment and pursuit of a life path dedicated to serving others and deepening one's relationship with God. Vocations are diverse and include the call to the priesthood, religious life, marriage, and single life. Each vocation is a gift that contributes to the spiritual growth and well-being of the Church and society. Through prayer, reflection, and guidance from the Holy Spirit, individuals are encouraged to discern their vocation and embrace the path that aligns with God's will, bringing joy, fulfillment, and abundant blessings to their lives and the lives of those they touch.

““No vocation is born of itself or lives for itself. A vocation flows from the heart of God and blossoms in the good soil of faithful people...”


“Among the many vocations that the Holy Spirit never ceases to call forth in the People of God, the vocation to the ministerial priesthood calls one to participate in the hierarchical priesthood of Christ and to be united with Him to feed the Church in Christ’s name with the word and the grace of God”


This call can come at various stages of human life, including adolescence, adulthood, and even childhood, as the constant experience of the Church has shown in history.

In the context of today’s migration, it is important for us to recognise the need to offer constant pastoral care to immigrant families. These families are a valuable resource for our parish communities, and the vocations to the priestly ministry can arise from within them.  Therefore, we must accompany these families, with a focus on gradual cultural integration.


The vocation to the ministerial priesthood is rooted in the wider baptismal vocation through which the People of God are established as a communion of life, charity, and truth. Therefore, it is the mission of the whole Church to care for the birth, discernment, and fostering of vocations, particularly those to the priesthood and consecrated life.


Promoting vocations to the priesthood is the work of all Catholics. It requires intentional prayer, education, and deliberate outreach efforts, as well as support and resources for those who are discerning a call to the priesthood. The priesthood is a noble and honorable vocation that allows individuals to serve God and His people in a special way. As Pope Francis has emphasised, these individuals are like ‘uncut diamonds’ that must be formed patiently and carefully so that they may shine among the People of God.


Therefore, let us all work together to promote and support vocations to the priesthood, particularly in our Diocese of Christchurch so that our community of faith may continue to flourish and spread the Gospel throughout the world.

Fr. Tien Cao

Catholic Diocese of Christchurch 

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