"Let no one who is unwilling be driven to the pursuit of this kind of consecrated life; but, if one wishes it, let there be no one who will dissuade him, much less prevent him from undertaking it."
-- Pope Pius XII, (Annus Sacer, December 8, 1950)
Prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood (Pius XII)
Lord Jesus, High Priest and universal Shepherd, Thou hast taught us to pray, saying: "Pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest" [Matt. 9: 38]. Therefore we beseech Thee graciously to hear our supplications and raise up many generous souls who, inspired by Thy example and supported by Thy grace, may conceive the ardent desire to enter the ranks of Thy sacred ministers in order to continue the office of Thy one true priesthood.
Although Thy priests live in the world as dispensers of the mysteries of God, yet their mission demands that they be not men of this world. Grant, then, that the insidious lies and vicious slanders directed against the priesthood by the malignant enemy and abetted by the world through its spirit of indifference and materialism may not dim the brilliance of the light with which they shine before men, nor lessen the profound and reverent esteem due to them.
Grant that the continual promotion of religious instruction, true piety, purity of life and devotion to the highest ideals may prepare the groundwork for good vocations among youth. May the Christian family, as a nursery of pure and pious souls, become the unfailing source of good vocations, ever firmly convinced of the great honor that can redound to our Lord through some of its numerous offspring.
Come to the aid of Thy Church, that always and in every place she may have at her disposal the means necessary for the reception, promotion, formation and mature development of all the good vocations that may arise. For the full realization of all these things, O Jesus, Who art most zealous for the welfare salvation of all, may Thy graces continually descend from Heaven to move many hearts by their irresistible force: first, the silent invitation; then generous cooperation; and finally perseverance in Thy holy service.
Art Thou not moved to compassion, O Lord, seeing the crowds like sheep without a shepherd, without anyone to break for them the bread of Thy word, or to lead them to drink at the fountains of Thy grace, so that they are continually in danger of becoming a prey to ravening wolves? Does it not grieve Thee to behold so many unplowed fields where thorns and thistles are allowed to grow in undisputed possession? Art Thou not saddened that many of Thy gardens, once so green and productive, are now on the verge of becoming fallow and barren through neglect?
O Mary, Mother most pure, through whose compassion we have received the holiest of priests; O glorious Patriarch St. Joseph, perfect model of co-operation with the Divine call; O holy priests,who in heaven compose a choice choir about the Lamb of God: obtain for us many good vocations in order that the Lordʼs flock, through the support and government of vigilant shepherds, may attain to the enjoyment of the most delightful pastures of eternal happiness. Amen.