April 25 is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations when the Church prays for vocations to ordained ministries, consecrated life in all its forms, secular institutes, and missionary life. The encouragement and formation of vocations is the task of all of us. We do this through promoting vibrant parish life at all of Maine’s churches. Almost 90% of women and men who enter religious life have served in one or more parish ministries prior to answering that call. Though each vocation originates from the loving call of Jesus, the existence of welcoming parish communities helps men and women discern their vocation. It is there that they experience the witness of faith and an invitation to consider becoming a priest, deacon, or member of a religious institute. Sustaining our parish communities and their shared commitment to offer vocational catechesis enhances the capacity of young people to appreciate the beauty of a religious vocation and understand how they might proceed. When you see people who show signs of love for the Eucharist and a desire to serve others at your parish, invite them to pray about what God could be telling them to do with their lives. Let us be ever mindful of creating parish environments where young people can know the personal love of the Lord and respond with generous hearts. On this Good Shepherd Sunday, let us pray that our young men and women receive the gift of understanding to discern God’s will in their lives and the gift of courage to follow the call when given.