For Priests

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

Preach on Vocations April 21, 2024

First Reading: Acts 4:8-12
Peter heals a crippled man, is jailed, and then addresses the people, assuring them that these miraculous works are done through the power of Jesus.

The Vocation Angle: In this passage two people are transformed: the crippled man and Peter. The cripple is a lowly person, miraculously healed. Peter is an ordinary man emboldened to preach the Gospel. These two men are transformed through Jesus, crucified as a common criminal, but now raised from the dead. The vocation message? God transforms whomever He chooses. You don’t have to be perfect or sinless to be a priest, brother, or sister. If God calls, His grace is sufficient.

Second Reading: 1 John 3:1-2
John helps early Christians identify with Jesus: “The world does not know us because it did not know Him.”

The vocation Angle: The passage strikes a tone of consoling detachment. There is comfort in being a child of God, not concerned about the views of the world, but looking forward to a future transformation. When discerning a vocation, we should be peaceful, trusting that God will lead us because He is our good Father.

Gospel: John 10:11-18
Jesus is the Good Shepherd who knows His sheep. He lays down His life for them, and is raised up again.

The Vocation Angle: While all are called to imitate Christ, some are called to more closely imitate Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Priests and religious are not “hired help,” but rather, they give their whole lives to the Church, walking closely with all Catholics in the joys and trials of life. Those who are called to be shepherds must themselves learn to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd.

YOUR JOY INSPIRES VOCATIONS

“‘Joy,’ wrote the French philospher Leon Bloy, ‘is the most infallabile sign of God’s presence.’ …
“When I was assistant at Little Flower Parish back in St. Louis, I met with our parish vocation committee and asked them what we priests and nuns could do to encourage young people to consider a vocation … One crusty old guy spoke up, ‘Well, you can begin by being happy! Show us you love your work and enjoy your life. Be joyful!’ Not bad advice. …

“Actually, our joy as priests should have nothing to do with where we’re assigned, what we’re doing, or any external reward or recognition we get. It only depends on who we are, not what we do or have. We are beloved of the Father, configured to his Son, alive with his grace—everything else is gravy.”

~ Cardinal Timothy Dolan
in Priests for the Third Millennium

 

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.