World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Prayer for Vocations
O God, Father of all Mercies,
Provider of a bountiful Harvest,

send Your Graces upon those
You have called to gather the fruits of Your labor;
preserve and strengthen them in their lifelong service of you.

Open the hearts of Your children
that they may discern Your Holy Will;
inspire in them a love and desire to surrender themselves
to serving others in the name of Your son, Jesus Christ.

Teach all Your faithful to follow their respective paths in life
guided by Your Divine Word and Truth.
Through the intercession of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary,
all the Angels, and Saints, humbly hear our prayers
and grant Your Church's needs, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

This Sunday is World Day of Prayer for Vocations.  It's usually observed on "Good Shepherd Sunday" when the gospel refers to Jesus as the Good Shepherd.  "Shepherd" can also refer to those who help lead the flock to Jesus, particularly, priests.

I prefer the term: "sheep-dog," since as a priest, I take direction from the Good Shepherd and help lead the flock where He wants them to go.  The purpose of this day is to publically fulfill Jesus' instruction to, "Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest" (Mt 9:38; Lk 10:2).  There is a special need for priests to provide the sacramental life and pastoral care within our Church.  For example, you may have heard that many of the parishes in our own Archdiocese are sharing priests with other parishes.  And still, there's also a need for religious sisters and brothers, as well as others who dedicate their lives in service to the Lord and His Church.

In an address to seminarians and novices on July 6, 2013, Pope Francis said, "Becoming a priest or a man or woman religious is not primarily our own decision....Rather it is the response to a call and to a call of love."  For the person called by God, living out one's religious vocation is the greatest means of happiness and fulfillment in life.

Many in our world may not understand this truth or see with the eyes of faith, but we who are recipients of the ministry of priests, deacons and religious have some idea of the importance of a religious vocation.  For example, without the ministry of a priest, we would not have the Sacraments of Holy Eucharist or Reconciliation (Confession).  Active, faith-filled Catholic families are the seedbed of vocations.  Parents and grand-parents in such families talk about vocations and invite the children to reflect upon how Jesus may be calling them.  If it isn't going on in your family, please bring this up in conversation.  You never know what might be going on in your child's mind and heart; a poignant question may stimulate further interest and investigation.  If they don't consider all their options, a wonderful and powerfully enriching opportunity may be missed, and God's plan for that person may be left unfulfilled.

And so, please pray - that young men and women hear and respond generously to the Lord's call to the priesthood, diaconate, religious life, societies of apostolic life or secular institutes.  The future of our Church depends upon their response.  Check out www.usccb.org/vocations to find resources to help promote a culture of vocations in your family and in our parish.
 

Post by Fr. Bob Deehan

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