A Diamond in the Rough

May 1, 2024 | Blog Articles

Many times, especially throughout history, seminaries and places of formation of young people professed into religious life make the news for what is wrong: abuses of power, conscience, and sexual nature. These are wounds that remain for a lifetime because those years of formation of every young person are crucial years for the adults of tomorrow.

What never makes the news and what the Pope wants to emphasize instead in his prayer intention this month is the beauty of those years and their importance for the Church. A vocation is indeed a spark that ignites hearts, but by itself, it is not enough: “A good priest, a religious, must first of all be a man, a woman, formed, shaped by the grace of the Lord.” In short, in Francis’ words, “every vocation is a ‘diamond in the rough’ to be polished, to be worked on, to be shaped in all its facets”; it needs to be accompanied by “integral preparation” and “ongoing formation,” which “does not end at a particular moment, but continues throughout life, over the years, enriching the person intellectually, humanly, effectively, spiritually.”

The formation years, then, are not just a warm-up: they are themselves a time in the game that every priest, seminarian, and religious finds himself playing within his vocational journey. In the seminary, for example, one learns the space of prayer and the centrality of service; one experiences, then, that vocation is not a solitary journey, but must be lived “in direct contact with the lives of other people.” Beginning with community life, which – as the Pope reminds us – is not exhausted only in living together.

It is precisely community life that plays a central role in the images of this month’s Pope’s Video, which accompanies Francis’ words: from basketball games to meals together, living through common moments of prayer and study, as well, of course, as the Eucharist and service to the poor, each young seminarian, religious men or religious woman strengthens his or her vocation in the sharing of experiences with others. The scenes filmed in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles – which participated in the production of this video – recount the beauty and joy of a fundamental journey in the life of every priest, religious woman, or religious man.

Andrea Sarubbi

Coordinator of The Pope’s Video


The Pope’s Official Prayer Network

We pray that religious women and men, and seminarians grow in their own vocations through their human, pastoral, spiritual and community formation, leading them to be credible witnesses to the Gospel.