By Jose Antonio Varela Vidal
The World Day of Prayer for Vocations, held every Fourth Sunday of Easter coincides with the celebration of Jesus the Good Shepherd. Each year the Pope sent a message to the world to reflect on the mystery of the vocation to consecrated life, either as priests, religious and other states of life. This time, the focus has been the vocation as a gift of God's love.
Both Monsignor Julio Botia, international president, Colombian, and Bishop Juan de Dios Rojas, international entertainer, Peru, reflect on this gift that they too have received, but to respond to it have had to pack their bags in secret before going to the seminar , as happened to Father Juan de Dios, or see the suffering of his family when the father learned that in July the table of his house were still placing a dish, leaving the empty chair, waiting for his return ...
The message of Pope for Vocations this year says that a vocation is a "gift of God's love," what does this mean?
- P. Botia: We understand that it is God that calls some love to collaborate with him on certain mission and service. Jesus did, and Mark 3: 13-14 tells us that went to pray, and 'in love', called those who wanted it. It is a gift of love.
And how should correspond to that love, a young man who is forming?
- P. Rojas: Thinking first that if the Lord calls him to a life of greater commitment, has a treasure in hand, and that treasure is Christ must take his life first and then take another.
What are the conditions for vocations to surface in a parish?
- P. Red: When a church becomes a home and a place of communion, is when you raise vocations, but especially good when pastors give testimony of life and we are really in love with our calling.
How did this call on you?
- P. Botia: I always loved serving others and had a lot in my family piety and love of God. Even when I realized that God was calling me to serve full-time and full heart.
- P. Rojas: I remember the example of an elderly priest and his great zeal for the sick. When I accompanied him to visit a sick impressed me so much that I wanted to be like that priest.
The pope's message says that the family should talk to children about the vocation ...
- P. Botia: We have difficulties in families, by the weakness of faith, or the fact that few children and is not accepted that one can go to seminary. But when the family is well connected and has much love of God, accompanies, encourages and helps the young man who feels called by God. And having a son or a daughter consecrated priest for the family is a great blessing. But family is family not only when you are young, but even when you die you need the spiritual support, emotional, companionship. They need families to love God very much and they really love the priests. There are initiatives of groups of mothers of priests who come together to pray for their children and priests in the world, which are formed to be better mothers, mothers holy. Mothers are very important in accompaniment of the priest's life.
- P. Rojas: I think the families, who are a little domestic church, should not be afraid when a vocation arises or if a child enters the seminary. Because they have gained a son, they have not lost and it is Christ who has taken his place in these families.
Do you have a story in relation to their families?
- P. Botia: As I am older son felt much pain and I really need them when I left the seminary. But it helped a lot to overcome this situation what St. Francis de Sales said, that if one deals with the things of God, he deals with things in one. So when my family has done more to God, and when they have lived about the faith and conversion steps have been taken in that way have helped me more.
- P. Rojas: I remember my father was very much in agreement and he wanted it to be a professional like any other young, but he's mom had me really understood my vocation. And it was my mother who helped me to go to seminary, and I prepared the suitcase behind my father. But after a week that my father found out, was happy and it was my mother who told him and "love" to let me be in the seminar.
Why is it important that the priest is not alone?
- P. Botia: For the environment. Today the priest feels an indifference, there is resistance to the work of evangelization, and also by personal need, because we have all, or we can not know everything, so we must join with others. And Jesus himself is the one who wants us to unite to make a work not only as an individual, who is the priest, but through a fraternity, a small community, a sanctuary that is the family of shepherds. It is therefore very important to share with his brother priest, who is doubly brother not only by baptism, but by the sacrament of order, and if we triple brothers of the same diocese. That means that we serve, help and unite to serve others, thus increasing everyone.
- P. Rojas: I think the UAC is a gift from God to those who in these years we have lived and live, and be increasingly good and holy shepherds.
Finally, the pope said on Holy Thursday that disobedience does not reform the church, why do arise in some sectors of the presbytery rebellious attitude towards the hierarchy?
- P. Botia: In some sectors comes something good and healthy is to seek a renewal of the church, of priestly life, there are various proposals as the same holy father answered them. But sometimes the ways or means are not always the real or the best. For us, the model is always Jesus who knows how to be faithful to God the Father, the people and himself. And so we seek to follow faithfully what he lived and what he asks, and what the church in his name entrusts to us. The brother priests can also make mistakes at some point in the proposals they make, but with the priestly fraternity we help to renew and serve us all better to the world that needs us both.
- P. Red: Jesus teaches us to be good shepherds. And insofar as we listen to the teacher who always called us and told us to come and rest a little. I mean, the priest must be a man of prayer, and there begins to be a good priest.