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The seed of a vocation must be watered and watched over, says pope

Servizio Fotografico L'Osservatore Romano

And gossip is the destroyer of religious communities, Francis warns in concluding Bangladesh trip.

Today, the last day of his trip to Bangladesh, Pope Francis visited the Tejgaon Catholic center in Dhaka. Speaking to 1,500 priests, nuns, religious, seminarians and novices, the Sovereign Pontiff encouraged them to cultivate religious vocations, and to fight against gossip in their communities. He also especially recommended the Rosary.

Upon his arrival, the pope went on a private visit to the small Mother Teresa house to meet children, disabled people, and elderly people—who were all smiles—taken in by the Missionaries of Charity. Then, he went to the modern church of the Holy Rosary, directly in front of the house.

Warmly applauded and acclaimed, the pontiff listened to the testimonies of five consecrated people. Among them was a diocesan priest from Dhaka, whose joy is to have baptized many people of “other castes and religions.” Other speakers included a hermit who has been in religious life for 63 years, and a young religious educator of the poor who wants to participate in “the redemption of humanity,” as the Virgin Mary did.

Watch over vocations 

Leaving aside his official speech, so as, he said, not to be “boring,” the pope spoke “with an open heart” about religions vocations. Each vocation is like a “little seed” that comes from God, but we have to watch over it, “water it.” We must tend to it with human tenderness, prayer, and discernment, to know if it is growing well, being attentive to the environment of the future consecrated soul.

The pontiff then warned against the main enemy of religious communities: gossip, which is like “terrorism,” all the more devastating because it is secret; it is a “bomb.” It sows a “spirit of division” that destroys dialogue, even within the Church.

In the official discourse, the pope offers a meditation on the Rosary, a “magnificent prayer” which forges spiritual life and apostolic service. It is a prayer which “stimulates us to give our lives completely to Christ, in union with Mary.”

“Rooted in and inflamed with love”

“Answering this call is a process that lasts a lifetime,” continues the pontiff, recommending that consecrated persons have a personal encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist and in Sacred Scripture, in order to be “rooted in and inflamed with love.”

“May you (…) be a source of spiritual renewal and inspiration for those you serve,” participating in the love of Christ who sacrifices himself for his flock.

At the end of his visit, the Bishop of Rome blessed the graves at the parish cemetery, located behind the church. Many religious have been buried there since the founding of this shrine in the 16th century by Portuguese missionaries. In the official speech, the pope affirmed his intention to pray for “the devoted and faithful missionaries who planted and cared for this seed of faith for almost five centuries.”

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