The priesthood demands sacrifice but it is a very rewarding vocation, said Archbishop Nicholas Chia.
“I have been a priest for over 48 years and although sacrifices and crosses are not lacking, there is a great joy in sharing the Word of God,” said the archbishop during a Mass to mark the 49th World Day of Prayer for Vocations on April 29.
The theme of the Mass, held at St Anne’s Church, was Vocations, the Gift of the Love of God.
“The love of God is everlasting; it needs to be proclaimed ever anew, especially to younger generations,” Archbishop Chia said during the celebration.
He told the young people present that if God called them to be “fishers of men,” they should “give yourselves to the Lord and gifts will be given to you in abundance”.
“Pray fervently to know God’s will,” he urged. “Doing what the world wants, trying to achieve money, fame and worldly pleasures will not bring you lasting happiness. But doing God’s will brings you fulfilment.”
Archbishop Chia also asked parents to cultivate God-centred families so that their children will be open to God’s call, and urged everyone to pray for vocations.
“Promote vocations through fervent prayers, participate in the Eucharistic adoration for vocations. Join the Parish Vocation Teams, the Serra Club. Reach out to the young and encourage them to participate in vocation camps to discern their vocation,” he said.
Just before the Mass, the St Anne’s Youth Council (SAYC) helped to organise a Holy Hour of prayer, hymns and scriptural reflections.
About 300 people, including young people and seminarians, attended the Holy Hour. Most participants also stayed back for the Mass.
SAYC chairperson Jessica Chew told CatholicNews, “This is the first time we’re hosting this event with the youths in the hope that we can create an awareness and appreciation for vocations, especially among teens.”
Polytechnic student Lester Wong shared that he has considered becoming a priest.
“There’s a voice inside me that is calling me to Holy Orders,” he told CatholicNews. “However, I will need time to think it through and discern if this calling … is truly meant for me. I hope to attend a vocation retreat when I’m ready.”
By Martin See