When early Christians were being persecuted in the first centuries of the Church, they relied on symbols to communicate the faith. The boat was a common image of the Church, led by fishermen, working together in rough times. Similarly, the anchor became a sign of hope, keeping the boat safe in harbor. The anchor also had a cross-like form, so the allusion to the Cross of Christ was subtly present. The rope in this image also hints at a Christ-figure on the cross.
This image was adopted by the Vocations Office for a couple of reasons. Pope Benedict XVI has warned us that relativism and subjectivity are like dangerous waves crashing around us. The Church is our place of safety in these times. As the Church struggles to produce more vocations to the priesthood and religious life, the image of the anchor reminds us of two scriptures:
The Letter to the Hebrews, which contains these words of promise:
“We who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to hold fast to the hope that lies before us. This we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm, which reaches into the interior behind the veil, where Jesus has entered on our behalf as forerunner, becoming high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 6: 18-20)
Also, consider the words of God to the prophet Jeremiah,
“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord.
Plans for your welfare not your woe, plans to give you a a future full of hope.”