World Day of Prayer for Vocations

In 1963, Pope Paul VI designated Good Shepherd Sunday as the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

Good Shepherd Sunday is the fourth Sunday of Easter; that is, the Sunday three weeks after Easter Sunday. The name comes from the Gospel reading for this day which in all  three lectionary years is taken from the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John. In this reading, Jesus is described as the Good Shepherd, who protects us as his flock and promises us the gift of eternal life.

The purpose of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations is to publically fulfill the Lord`s instruction to, `Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest`(Mt 9:38: Lk 10:2). While the Church appreciates the vocation of all Christians given at Baptism, it concentrates its attention this day on vocations to ordained ministries, religious life, societies of apostolic life or secular institutes.

In his message written for this 51st World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis I wrote:

Dear brothers and sisters, this “high standard of ordinary Christian living” … means sometimes going against the tide and also encountering obstacles, outside ourselves and within ourselves. Jesus himself warns us: the good seed of God’s word is often snatched away by the Evil one, blocked by tribulation, and choked by worldly cares and temptation (cf Mt 13:19-22). All of these difficulties could discourage us, making us fall back on seemingly more comfortable paths. However, the true joy of those who are called consists in believing and experiencing that he, the Lord, is faithful, and that with him we can walk, be disciples and witnesses of God’s love, open our hearts to great ideals, to great things. “We Christians were not chosen by the Lord for small things; push onwards toward the highest principles. Stake your lives on noble ideals!”

Please pray that young men and women may hear and respond generously to God`s call to consecrated life.