The Fourth Sunday of Easter is called “Good Shepherd Sunday”, and is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations to the priesthood and religious life. It is easy to take the need for vocations for granted and to think that “it has nothing to do with me”, or “It’s a great life, but not for my son/daughter”.

At the moment the vast majority of Catholics in Europe are unable to receive the sacraments. If men do not become priests, this will be the situation in the future. Religious sisters and nuns may have a less obvious role for many of us, but the nuns are vital power houses of prayer, and religious sisters often work in vital roles in society, such as in schools, hospitals and care homes. It is important to encourage young men and women to embrace this life, and to be courageous enough to contact a vocation director who can help them.

Sometimes people think that Bishops and religious superiors are so desperate for people that they will never turn someone down. This is not the case! If someone is accepted for training it is because the Vocation Director and others think that they may have a vocation. We do actually turn people down, or not allow their application to progress if we think they are not suitable.

At Downside Abbey we pray in particular for vocations to our community on the first Friday of every month, and we have been blessed with young men who are discerning with us, and also with the clothing of Br Hugh and the solemn profession of Dom John, who is continuing with his studies at the moment. But the Church (including Downside) needs more men and women to be courageous in responding to God’s call. So keep praying for vocations, and remember us in particular! You can visit our vocations page by clicking here.

You can also read the Pope’s Letter for this day by clicking here 

There are examples of vocation stories and more information about vocations available by clicking here