With canonization, Popes John XXIII, John Paul II intercede for vocations

Fr. Jonathan Wallis, STL

NTC Columnist

April 14, 2014

Divine Mercy Sunday will witness the canonization of Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II. This is an amazing event in the life of the Church. Both these men had a significant impact on the life of the Church and on vocations.

The witness of joy in serving God and his Church is one of the best witnesses for the priesthood. Both Popes John XXIII and John Paul II served with joy and dedication.

My own call to the priesthood was strengthened by the witness of Pope John Paul II. I had the honor of seeing him in St. Louis in 1999. His health was not good, but he radiated hope and a deep love of Jesus Christ.

I went to St. Louis wrestling with the idea of becoming a priest. I was certain that I was interested in the idea, but was not certain of Christ’s call.

Mass with the pope was wonderful, and on the way home I read his speech to a group of youth, given on the previous day. I’ll never forget his words: “To those of you who think that Christ may be inviting you to follow him in the priesthood or the consecrated life, I make this personal appeal: I ask you to open your hearts generously to Him; do not delay your response. The Lord will help you to know his will; He will help you to follow your vocation courageously.”

I felt that the pope was speaking directly to me. I felt I needed to move forward, and through many twists and turns in the road, I entered the seminary and am now a priest.

I tell as many people as I can about the words of John Paul II. The invitation is as true today as it was when I first read it. Jesus Christ is faithful — He will help you to know his will and He will give you the strength to follow Him.

Pope John Paul II ended his talk, stating: “Christ is calling you; the Church needs you; the pope believes in you and he expects great things of you!”

It will not be long before we can ask Pope Saint John Paul II to intercede for us. I ask that he will intercede for us before God to inspire many young men to follow the call of Jesus Christ into the priesthood and many young men and women to follow Him into the consecrated life. May we all be witnesses of the hope and joy of Jesus Christ in the world.

Divine Mercy Sunday will witness the canonization of Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II. This is an amazing event in the life of the Church. Both these men had a significant impact on the life of the Church and on vocations.

Published (until 12/12/2031)