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On Sunday 21st April, the Church celebrates Good Shepherd Sunday. In the Gospel, we hear about the good shepherd who will lay down his life for his sheep. 


On this day, the faithful are encouraged to pray for vocations to the priesthood and to pray for those who are ordained. But we are all called to consider God's calling for our own lives. God calls each one of us and has great plans for all. 

We just need to be willing to listen, and to be receptive to His call. 

What is a vocation?

Vocation comes from the Latin vocatio, or call, and refers to this idea that God is calling each of us. 

By our Baptism, we are called into the fullness of Christian life and perfect charity, which is referred to as the "universal call to holiness." But as a part of this, we each have our own specific calling will be different to that of others. As John Henry Newman said "He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another."

We are all called into service of God through the way we live our lives in accordance with His will. God calls some of us to the priesthood, and others to the religious life. A larger number are called into the vocation of marriage, and some are called to the single vocation. God calls each of us to bring us to holiness, and so to help us become saints and to sanctify the world.

As a calling, it takes some listening to God to know what it is He wants from each of us. We can discover our vocation through a period of discernment and by prayerfully considering how God calls us.

What can I do?

In people's lives, there comes a point for everyone where they discern God's calling for them. To reach this point can take considerable amounts of discernment and prayer. If you are considering your own vocation, spend some time listening for God's calling in your own life. It may come in many different ways! The Spirit can move any of us in any way, so we should all be open to where the Spirit may be leading us.

For the rest of us, those who are sure of their vocation, on this Sunday, all the faithful are encouraged to pray for vocations, especially to the priesthood and religious life. Please remember on this day especially to pray for those who are discerning, but also for an increase in vocations to the ordained life. We also continue to remember our priests, that they may continue their vital ministry to the fullest and so to serve God and His Church.

Other ways to support people discerning include to open up conversations - we should never underestimate the power of asking a simple question about where God is calling someone. 

The Diocese of Plymouth also asks that fundraising takes place for the Seminarians Fund on this weekend. The Diocese currently has two men in formation for the priesthood, with two more to join in September, including Sam and Julian from Sacred Heart. Please support these men with your prayers.

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