This Sunday is not only Good Shepherd Sunday, because of today’s Gospel, but it is also World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

Next week, I will be celebrating forty-four years of priesthood. On my anniversary I always think of the priests who influenced my call to the priesthood. They were the young assistant pastors when I grew up. They were in the schools with us, on the playgrounds, always a part of our everyday lives. But there was also this one older priest, my pastor at the time. He showed me the stability of the priesthood, in prayer life, in devotion, and by a religious and moral commitment to God to follow His ways in a special life of service. He was the one who gave me books, not about overly spiritual people, but about how ordinary people became spiritual. He set the example for me about being a person of prayer. It was his influence that most affected my vocation to the priesthood. In the younger priests, I always saw this older priest’s influence of faith lived in their lives.

So maybe this weekend, say a little extra prayer for Vocations. Pray for that person who may be considering priesthood or religious life that they open their hearts to God’s call and say “YES” to His invitation to the priesthood or religious life.