(NZ Vocations Awareness Week 8th – 14th May)
The Good Shepherd and the Smell of the Sheep
‘Please pray for me, not against me,’ the universal shepherd – Pope Francis regularly asks those he meets to pray for him. Let us too pray for our priests, not against them. Let us pray for and encourage vocations so that we have priests who care for us, minister to us, and support us in living and preaching the Gospel. Every time we pray for priests and for vocations to the priesthood, we pray for ourselves.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd of good shepherds. He promises us “I will give you shepherds after my own heart” (Jer. 3:15). In these words, from the prophet Jeremiah, God promises his people that he will never leave them without shepherds, to gather them together and guide them: I will set shepherds over my sheep who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed (Jer. 23.4). With our total trust in God’s promise, the Church will never completely lack sacred ministers.
Therefore, on this Good Shepherd Sunday, we direct our prayers even more fervently to God for priests and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood for the diocese of Christchurch. This invitation was first given by Jesus himself: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest” (Lk 10:2).
Here is a challenge to every parish and school in the diocese: Gather people regularly for the sole purpose of prayer for priests and for vocations to the diocesan priesthood in our Christchurch diocese.
Fr. Tien Cao
Catholic Diocese of Christchurch
Prayer for Priestly Vocations
Father, in your plan for our salvation
You provide shepherds for your people
Fill your Church with the spirit of courage and love.
Raise up worthy ministers for your altars,
and ardent but gentle servants of the Gospel.
We ask this in the name of Jesus,
the Eternal High Priest.
St. John the Baptist – Pray for us!