Pope Francis shared profound reflections on the priestly vocation and vocation in general in his message for World Vocations Day 2023.

The richness of his message can be of great inspiration to all of us called to the Vincentian charism!

Before delving into Pope Francis’ thought, it is important to recognise the importance of vocation for the Congregation of the Mission. St. Vincent de Paul saw vocation not only as a call to a particular service, but also as a call to love and holiness. His vision of vocation, rooted in charity and humility, continues to inspire and guide the missionaries of the Mission Congregation in their service to others.

Synodality as a Fundamental Vocation

The Pope emphasises the importance of synodality, or the common journey, as a fundamental vocation of the Church. He emphasises that all the baptised, regardless of their position in the Church or their level of education in the faith, are agents of evangelisation [1].
This recalls the verse from Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.

Vocation: a Gift to All

Pope Francis makes it clear that the word ‘vocation’ should not be understood in a restrictive sense, referring only to those who follow the Lord through a life of special consecration. Every man and woman, even before meeting Christ and accepting the Christian faith, receives through the gift of life a fundamental vocation: each of us is a creature willed and loved by God; each of us has a unique and special place in the mind of God [2].
This concept is in line with Psalm 139:13-14, “For you created my kidneys, you wove me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am wonderfully made, marvellous are your works”.

God’s Gaze: A Call to Vocation

According to Pope Francis, every vocation is an encounter with the gaze of God, who calls us. Vocation, like holiness, is not an extraordinary experience reserved for the few. There is a vocation for everyone, because God’s gaze and call are directed to every person [3].
This is in perfect harmony with Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before you came forth into the light, I anointed you”.


Vocation, as Pope Francis reminds us, is a gift that each of us receives from God. It is not limited to a call to a life of special consecration, but concerns each individual and his or her own unique and special call to holiness and service. This concept of vocation is in perfect harmony with the teaching of St. Vincent de Paul, who saw vocation as a call to love and holiness.

The charism, or spiritual gift that each of us receives, is closely related to our vocation. These gifts are given to us to help us live our vocation more fully and to better serve others in our journey of faith.

Finally, mission is the active expression of our vocation and charism. It is the way in which we put our gifts at the service of the world, following the example of Christ and responding to God’s call. Both Pope Francis and St Vincent de Paul remind us that our mission is rooted in love and service to others, and that it is through this mission that we live our vocation to the full.

In conclusion, Pope Francis’ vision of the priestly vocation, together with the teaching of St. Vincent de Paul, offers us a profound understanding of how vocation, charism and mission come together in one powerful call to love, holiness and service.