For Priests

Suggested readings and commentary, ideas for stories, prayers of the faithful, and tips for talking to young men.

Preach on Vocations April 30, 2023

First Reading: Acts 13:14, 43-52
Paul and Barnabas preach in Antioch despite strong opposition from the Jewish community.

The Vocation Angle: True courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to proceed in spite of it. St. Paul was utterly convinced of his call to bring the Gospel to Gentiles, and despite hardship, “was filled with joy.”

From the outside, a vocation to priesthood or religious life may seem to involve too many sacrifices. But our true happiness lies in following God’s will for our lives. 

Second Reading: Revelation 7:9, 14-17
John sees a great multitude worshiping the Lamb, sheltered by God because of their faithfulness.

The vocation Angle: “Choose now what you wish to have chosen at life’s end,” wrote St. Anthony Mary Claret. Every vocation has heaven as its ultimate goal, and is also ordered toward bringing other people to heaven.

Ask young people: “When you stand before the throne of God, whom will you have brought to heaven?”

 

Gospel: John 10:27-30
Jesus promises eternal life to those who hear his voice and follow him.

The Vocation Angle: To hear the Shepherd’s voice requires quiet and prayer. Pope Benedict XVI said, “Young people, if they can be taught how to pray, can be trusted to know what to do with God’s call.”

Talk about prayer, methods of prayer, and the importance of listening for God’s voice, especially when making big decisions in life.

Ideas for a Good Vocation Story

  • Think back to your younger years... When were you inspired by the example of a specific priest, brother, or sister?
  • Describe the day you were ordained or celebrated your first Mass. Is there a memorable story to tell?
  • Tell a story of a moment when you realized the value of your priesthood, perhaps during Confession or the Anointing of the Sick.
  • Tell a story about how the shortage of priests affects real people. Is there a parish that sometimes has Communion services instead of Mass?
  • Talk about a seminarian you know. Share about him as a child, and how he’s doing now at seminary.
  • Talk about a mom or dad you know who were concerned when their son or daughter joined a religious community. Did their attitude change over time?

Prayers of the Faithful for Vocations

On this World Day of Prayer for Vocations, we pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood, especially in our own diocese. We pray to the Lord.

For the mothers of priests, that God richly bless them for the great gift they have given the Church. We pray to the Lord.

That young people in our parish will not be afraid to make vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience if the Lord calls them. We pray to the Lord.

For those who are having difficulty discerning their vocations, that the Holy Spirit give them wisdom and peace. We pray to the Lord.

That Christian parents will happily encourage their children to remain open to the priesthood or consecrated life. We pray to the Lord.

For deceased priests and religious from our parish and diocese, that the Good Shepherd will welcome them with open arms. We pray to the Lord.

 

Talking with Men about the Priesthood

Want to do something concrete to help young men think about priesthood? Fr. Michael Pratt lays out the field-tested method he uses to engage teens & young adults in Five Conversations about the Priesthood.

You’ll need two copies of Cardinal Dolan’s classic Priests for the Third Millennium—one for you and one for a young man in your parish.

Ask him to have five 15-minute conversations about specific chapters, which are outlined in Five Conversations about the Priesthood. The book is a “launching point” for the priest to share about his day-to-day ministry, of which young men know very little.

The result is meaningful conversation that gets men thinking about the importance and possibility of priesthood.