Vocations Sunday 15 May 2011

09 May 2011

Interview with Bishop Donal McKeown, Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor and Chair of the Council for Vocations of the Irish Bishops’ Conference. In this interview Bishop McKeown talks about vocations’ numbers and the importance of making sure that every year is a Year of Vocation.

Good Shepherd Sunday

Vocations Sunday, or Good Shepherd Sunday as it is sometimes known, falls on Sunday 15 May 2011.  Pope Paul VI instituted the World Day of Prayer for Vocations (the 4th Sunday of Easter) on the 11th April 1964 by saying:

“O Jesus, divine Shepherd of the spirit, you have called the Apostles in order to make them fishermen of men, you still attract to you burning spirits and generous young people, in order to render them your followers and ministers to us”
(Pope Paul VI launching the 1st World Day of Prayer for Vocations)

In the years since, successive pontiffs have called on the Church to focus and constantly pray for vocations but in a special way on Vocations Sunday we focus on the calling to priesthood and religious life.

Papal Message 2011

Full text of Pope Benedict XVI’s Message for the 48th World Day of Prayer for Vocations click here

In his message for this year’s World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Benedict focuses on the theme Proposing Vocations in the Local Church and he says: “It is essential that every local Church become more sensitive and attentive to the pastoral care of vocations, helping children and young people in particular at every level of family, parish and associations – as Jesus did with his disciples – to grow into a genuine and affectionate friendship with the Lord, cultivated through personal and liturgical prayer; to grow in familiarity with the sacred Scriptures and thus to listen attentively and fruitfully to the word of God; to understand that entering into God’s will does not crush or destroy a person, but instead leads to the discovery of the deepest truth about ourselves; and finally to be generous and fraternal in relationships with others, since it is only in being open to the love of God that we discover true joy and the fulfilment of our aspirations. ‘Proposing Vocations in the Local Church’ means having the courage, through an attentive and suitable concern for vocations, to point out this challenging way of following Christ which, because it is so rich in meaning, is capable of engaging the whole of one’s life.”


  • National website for Vocations to the Diocesan Priesthood in Ireland which includes links to diocesan vocations directors and initiatives – click here
  • Video message from the Director of Vocations in the Archdiocese of Dublin – click here or find out more on http://vocations.dublindiocese.ie/
  • Archdiocese of Tuam vocations website One Life, One Call, One response including video reflection by Archbishop Michael Neary click here
  • Vocations initiative in the Diocese of Ossory – click here
  • New vocations website from Diocese of Ferns – click here [launching on 15 May 2011]
  • Diocese of Elphin Vocations – click here
  • Diocese of Ossory Vocations – click here
  • Diocese of Kilmore Vocations – click here
  • In Praise of Priests – a collection of five short video interviews with a cross-section of lay people on the subject of priesthood and what particular priests have meant in their lives – click here
  • ‘You Will Be My Witnesses’ vocation hymn by Sr Marie Dunne – click here


Lord Jesus,
you said to your disciples:
“The harvest indeed is great
but the labourers are few.”
We ask that we may know
and follow the vocation
to which you have called us.
We pray for those called to serve:
those whom you have called,
those you are calling now,
and those you will call in the future.
May they be open and responsive
to the call of serving your people.



Lord, I know that you love me and have great plans for me.
But sometimes I have overwhelmed by the thought of my future.
Show me how to walk forward one day at a time.
May I hear your call to a life which will allow me to love as only I can,
and allow me to serve others with the special gifts you have given me.