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 53rd World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis I wrote:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On this day dedicated to prayer for vocations, I urge all the faithful to assume their responsibility for the care and discernment of vocations. When the Apostles sought someone to take the place of Judas Iscariot, Saint Peter brought together one hundred and twenty of the brethren (cf. Acts 1:15); and in order to choose seven deacons, a group of disciples was gathered (cf. 6:2). Saint Paul gave Titus specific criteria for the selection of presbyters (cf. Titus 1:5-9). Still today, the Christian community is always present in the discernment of vocations, in their formation and in their perseverance (cf. Apost. Ex. Evangelii Gaudium, 107).

All the faithful are called to appreciate the ecclesial dynamism of vocations, so that communities of faith can become, after the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, like a mother’s womb which welcomes the gift of the Holy Spirit (cf. Lk 1: 35-38). The motherhood of the Church finds expression in constant prayer for vocations and in the work of educating and accompanying all those who perceive God’s call. This motherhood is also expressed through a careful selection of candidates for the ordained ministry and for the consecrated life. Finally, the Church is the mother of vocations in her continual support of those who have dedicated their lives to the service of others.

We ask the Lord to grant to all those who are on a vocational journey a deep sense of belonging to the Church; and that the Holy Spirit may strengthen among Pastors, and all of the faithful, a deeper sense of communion, discernment and spiritual fatherhood and motherhood.

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