The Church finds Christ's “Follow Me” at the beginning of every call to service in the ministerial priesthood, which simultaneously – in the Catholic Church of the Latin rite – is linked to the conscious and free choice of celibacy…If such a call comes into your heart do not silence it! Let it develop into the maturity of a vocation. Respond to it through prayer and fidelity to the commandments! For “the harvest is plentiful” and there is an enormous need for priests according to the heart of God – and the Church in the world of today has an enormous need of the witness of a life given without reserve to God: the witness of that nuptial love of Christ himself which, in a particular way, will make the Kingdom of God present among people and bring it near to the world.
-- Apostolic Letter of Pope John Paul II
to the Youth of the World, International Youth Year
(March 31, 1985)
In a special way I commend to you young men the closing words of this evening's Gospel: "You did not choose me, but I chose you" (Jn 15:16). Yes, the gift of a vocation to the priesthood is not something you seek for yourselves. It has nothing to do with status or privilege as the world understands these things. Your great privilege will be to lay down your lives with Christ the eternal priest if you are truly called to this vocation. May God help each of you to discern His will so that you may "Go out to bear fruit, fruit that will last."
--To priests, religious, and seminarians
in Malawi (May 4, 1989)