Good Shepherd Sunday: Vocations Sunday

Christ is Risen! The Fourth Sunday of Easter is also called Good Shepherd Sunday because on this Sunday we hear the Gospel of St. John in which Jesus tell us that he is the Good Shepherd.  Jesus as our Good Shepherd cares for us, nourishes us and keeps us in good spiritual health. He has appointed bishops and priests to serve on his behalf as shepherds. For that reason, on this Sunday the whole Church prays for good vocations. Here in the Diocese of Honolulu we certainly need more good priests.

Last year when speaking to our young confirmation students, one of them asked me how I realized I had a vocation to be a priest. The vocation to the priesthood can begin with an attraction to serve God following the example of good priests. That was my starting point. I saw the kindness of the Irish priest in my elementary school. Both the principal of my school and the pastor were so caring. The priests did not ask me if I wanted to become a priest.   I came to that conclusion myself perhaps with God’s grace. Other times the seed of vocation can be planted by parents in their children. Priests too can plant that seed in young men and help them to discern as they grow.

Here at St. John’s we say the Diocesan Prayer for vocations at the end of Mass during weekdays. This prayer is our continuous response to Jesus who asks us to “Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send more laborers to the vineyard.” Parents can respond to this prayer by encouraging their sons to think of being priests in the future. Thanks to those parents who are already open to encourage their sons to think of vocation to the priesthood even in their young years. May God bless such parents. May He bless parents of priests, seminarians and future seminarian more particularly for their sacrifice so that their sons may be good shepherds of Christ’s flock. We are grateful that God is giving us a new priest in answer to our prayers when Deacon Romple Emwalu is ordained on May 17, 2019. May God bless him as he prepares for his ordination.

Monsignor John S. Mbinda