This Fourth Sunday of Easter, “Good Shepherd Sunday” from the reading of the Gospel of John (10:11), was designated by Pope Saint Paul VI as the World Day of Prayer for Vocations in 1963.
His prayer to “the master of the harvest, to send out workers” (Matthew 9:38) follows below.
“Vocation, more than our own choice, is a response to the Lord’s unmerited call. We will succeed in discovering and embracing our vocation once we open our hearts in gratitude and perceive the passage of God in our lives” (Pope Francis, Message for the 2020 World Day of Prayer for Vocations). Mary, faithful amidst fear and turmoil, embraced her vocation in gratitude and “made of her life an eternal song of praise to the Lord.”
On this day, with the Church, let us pray for grateful responses to God’s call, overcoming all isolating weariness through faith in Christ the Good Shepherd. With Mary, may we find the courage to say ‘yes’ to God.
A Prayer for Vocations by Pope Saint Paul VI
O Jesus, Divine Shepherd of Souls, who called the Apostles to become fishers of people (Matthew 4:19), now call the ardent and generous hearts of our youth to make them Your followers and ministers. Let them share your thirst for that universal redemption for which you daily renew Your sacrifice upon the altar.
O Lord Jesus, “always living to make intercession for us,” (Hebrews 7:25) extend our horizons to the entire world, where so many brethren make silent supplication for the light of truth and the warmth of love, so that answering Your call, they may prolong here Your mission, edify your Mystical Body, the Church, and be “the salt of the earth and the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13).
Extend, O Lord, Your loving call to many pure and generous-hearted young women, that they may grow in their desire for evangelical perfection and may dedicate themselves to the service of the Church and their neighbours who so desperately need such assistance and charity. Amen.
Pope Saint Paul VI, for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, April 11, 1964.