Dearly Beloved in Christ:
Sunday, April 22nd is the 55th World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Jesus Christ encourages us to always pray for an increase in holy vocations: “the harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38). Today, at Mass, we will conclude the universal prayer by praying, as one community, the prayer for vocations on 5.
In his message on this year’s World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis reminds us that God, in his providential love, is always calling out to us to listen, discern and live a life of holiness – that is, in accordance with his holy will. Every single person, regardless of the vicissitudes of their lives, is called to a personal relationship with God. It is by identifying how God invites us uniquely, listening for his voice and discerning how he is guiding us, that we will be able to live according to his will. True happiness and a sense of fulfillment come from striving to live in accordance with God’s will. Here’s an excerpt from the Pope’s message
“We are not victims of chance or swept up in a series of unconnected events; on the contrary, our life and our presence in this world are the fruit of a divine vocation! Even amid these troubled times, the mystery of the Incarnation reminds us that God continually comes to encounter us. He is God-with-us, who walks along the often dusty paths of our lives. He knows our anxious longing for love and he calls us to joy. In the diversity and the uniqueness of each and every vocation, personal and ecclesial, there is a need to listen, discern and live this word that calls to us from on high and, while enabling us to develop our talents, makes us instruments of salvation in the world and guides us to full happiness” (source: www.vatican.va).
Many people readily associate vocations with the priesthood and the religious life only. Contrarily, Christian vocation applies to all the baptized. Each one of us is called to a life of holiness in the different circumstances of our lives as lay, ordained or consecrated persons. Every vocation takes its true meaning from Jesus Christ who is the Good Shepherd, as we read in today’s Gospel Reading. Christ, the Good Shepherd, gathers God’s children into the one fold (cf. today’s Gospel) and he invites us to join him in this ministry of shepherding.
Today, we give God thanks for all those in active ministry as priests, deacons, brothers, sisters, consecrated persons and lay ministers; we remember those who are currently in seminaries and houses of formation throughout the world: May God grant them the Spirit’s gift of discernment; finally, we pray for families everywhere that through and from them, God may grant an increase of holy vocations, amen!
We are one Holy Family Parish, united in the joy of the Holy Spirit and in charity, as missionary disciples, amen!
In Christ’s love,
Fr. Jude Ekenedilichukwu Ezuma