The Vatican has set the 51st World Day for Vocations for May 11, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, commonly known as Good Shepherd Sunday.
The theme for this year’s celebration, which falls on Mother’s Day this year, is “Vocations, Witness to the Truth.”
Pope Francis, in a statement for the occasion said that “No vocation is born of itself or lives for itself. A vocation flows from the heart of God and blossoms in the good soil of faithful people, in the experience of fraternal love.”
The entire papal message is available in both English and Spanish at www.usccb.org/vocations along with other resources from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.
Resources include videos of priests and religious men and women giving witness to their vocations, videos of testimonies from parents whose children have answered a vocation to the priesthood and consecrated life, prayers and discernment resources for men and women, down-loadable lesson plans for educators and retreat resources for parishes.
Bishop Michael Burbidge of Raleigh, N.C., who chairs of the USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, noted the importance of prayer for vocations, especially for parishes and families, where vocations are nourished.
“Vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life are sent by God and nourished in parishes and families,” said Bishop Burbidge. “We recognize this especially on May 11, which is Mother’s Day this year. Parents are instrumental in helping their children hear God’s call and in providing a prayerful atmosphere within the home where vocations are supported and nurtured.”
He encouraged families to pray together for an increase of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life from within their families and parish communities. “Such prayer,” he said, “is a special gift to the entire Church.”
Prayer for Priestly Vocations
Father, in every generation you provide ministers of Christ
and the Church. We come before you now,
asking that you call forth more priests
to serve our Church.
Give us priests who will lead and guide your holy people
gathered by Word and Sacrament.Bless us with priestly
vocations so that we can continue to be a truly Eucharistic Church,
strengthened in our discipleship of Jesus Christ,
your only Son.
Raise up, we pray, priests who are generous in their service,
willing to offer their lives and all their gifts for your greater glory
and the good of your people.
We make our prayer in the presence
and power of the Holy Spirit,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord.