Pope Francis: To encourage vocations, learn to listen to young people

In a January 5 address to vocations directors from Italian dioceses, Pope Francis said that the work of encouraging vocations calls for “passion and a sense of gratitude.” In calling for passion, the Pope explained in his prepared remarks, he meant that “it is important to be convinced that ‘I am on a mission,’ and not simply that ‘I have a mission.’“ He said that this approach “requires courage, daring, imagination, and a desire to go beyond, to go further.”

This approach, he said, is attractive to young people. “The youth of today are in need of a spring of fresh water to slake their thirst, so as to continue on their searching journey,” the Holy Father said. He advised vocations officials to listen carefully to young people, to be prepared to “waste time” answering their questions and hearing their thoughts.”

Pope Francis handed out his prepared remarks to the officials who had participated in a conference organized by the Office for Pastoral Care for Vocations of the Italian Episcopal Conference. He spoke off the cuff to the group; no transcript was immediately available.

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