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 2:14, 36-41
Peter preaches to the crowd on Pentecost, exhorting them to be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit.
The Vocation Angle: When Peter addressed the crowd, “they were cut to the heart.” Sometimes the Holy Spirit speaks in a moment of clarity deep in our spirit. Many men who have been called to the priesthood have had this experience—during Mass, on a retreat, or at a youth event. The question is, how do you respond? Will you be like those in the crowd that day, who responded wholeheartedly to the call?
Second Reading: 1 Peter 2:20-25
“For you had gone astray like sheep, but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your soul.”
The vocation Angle: Imperfection does not disqualify you from a vocation! In fact, those who have strayed furthest are the greatest testaments to God’s mercy. Offer your unworthiness to God, then follow wherever he leads.
Gospel: John 10:1-10
Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Those who hear his voice follow him.
The Vocation Angle: To hear the Shepherd’s voice requires quiet and prayer. The late 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.” Preach about prayer, methods of prayer, and the importance of listening for God’s voice, especially when making big decisions in life.
FEELING DISCOURAGED? REMEMBER THE POWER OF HUMBLE WITNESS
”Recently a parish priest in a large German city told me that he had come to his vocation by the particular agency of a priest who was actually bereft of all exterior gifts. He was a hopeless preacher, a dreadful singer, and so on, and yet under his care, the parish really blossomed. In the end, four or five priestly vocations were awakened in the city parish, something that happened neither under his predecessor nor under his successor, both of whom were far more capable. We can see here how the humble witness of someone who does not have the gift of persuasive speech can itself become a sermon, and how we should thank God for the variety of gifts.”
~ Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in God and the World
Prayers of the Faithful for Vocations
For parish priests, that they will minister with the heart of the Good Shepherd, and that their example inspires more young men to enter seminary. We pray to the Lord.
That campus & youth ministries will foster a genuine encounter with Christ and accompany students as they discern God’s call. We pray to the Lord.
That parents will be open to priestly and religious vocations within their families, and that they will encourage their children to seriously consider every vocation. We pray to the Lord.
For the renewal of marriages, and for those searching for a spouse, that God fulfills their hearts’ desires. We pray to the Lord.
That the Holy Spirit will create a culture of vocations in our diocese, and that young people in our own parish will respond to Lord’s invitation to become priests, brothers, and sisters. We pray to the Lord.
In thanksgiving for all clergy and religious who have served our community, and for the repose of the souls of those who have died. 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.