April 30, 2023

Dear Parish Family:

This Fourth Sunday of Easter is known as Good Shepherd Sunday.  The gospel for Sunday Mass each year on this Sunday gives us the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Every parish has a patronal feast day. The feast day that the saint or the mystery that the parish is named in honor of. So today is our parish’s patronal feast. Happy feast day everyone!   

The image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd is one often associated with the call to ordained and consecrated life and so this Sunday is a special opportunity for us to recognize, reflect, and pray about vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and consecrated religious life as a sister or brother.

God calls each of us to a particular state in life: married, single, ordained, or consecrated. It is His plan for us, His dream for us. He has placed within us all the gifts, talents, and potential needed to fulfill that expression of our discipleship. It is what He has made for us. We must listen for God’s voice and follow that lead.

How do we know that we are going in the right direction and doing what God wants us to do? We have peace of mind and joy of heart. Even in the midst of challenges, if we are following what God wants us to do, then we have a sense of contentment, hope, and trust. He calls some to serve in the ordained and consecrated life. Vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and religious life are not just things of the past. God continues to call. The Church continues to need. We must continue to invite vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life which are gifts from God. But they are nourished and nurtured by families, parishes, and school communities. This is a task for all of us! 

Pope Francis said: “Vocations are born in prayer and from prayer, and only through prayer can they persevere and bear fruit.” I extend to all of us a special prayer challenge for vocations.  Imagine each of us every morning praying one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be that those whom God is calling will hear and respond. And then every night each of us praying one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be that those who have responded to God’s call may persevere. Imagine the power in those prayers!

May the Good Shepherd fill you with grace and peace!

Have a blessed and great week!

  Love and prayers,  

Father Neil Sullivan