World Day of Prayer for Vocations

"The World Day of Prayer for Vocations invites us to reflect on the precious gift of the Lord’s call to each of us, as members of his faithful pilgrim people, to participate in his loving plan and to embody the beauty of the Gospel in different states of life." - Pope Francis

On Sunday, April 21, 2024, the Church celebrates the 61st World Day of Prayer for Vocations, a day set aside to “ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest” (Lk 10:2).

While upholding all vocations, on the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, members of the Church most especially pray that young men and women hear and respond generously to the Lord's call to the priesthood, diaconate, religious life, societies of apostolic life or secular institutes.

“Let us pray, brothers and sisters, that the people of God, amid the dramatic events of history, may increasingly respond to this call. Let us implore the light of the Holy Spirit, so that all of us may find our proper place and give the very best of ourselves in this great divine plan!” said Pope Francis.

“Though we need all the vocations of the Church, we have a special need for priests in our diocese. We are helped by our missionary priests, but we need more men to serve together in bringing the message of the Gospel to life throughout Maine," said Bishop Robert Deeley.

The World Day of Prayer for Vocations is celebrated annually on Good Shepherd Sunday, which is the fourth Sunday of Easter. The day was instituted by Pope  Paul VI in 1963. During Masses, prayers for vocations will be offered, and all are asked to join on this day in praying for vocations.

Prayer for Vocations

Loving Father, you sent your Son so that all might come to know the truth and be saved. With the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, you continue his work through the Church. Your Son reminded his disciples that the harvest was indeed plentiful but the laborers few. Following his instructions, we beg you to call many to ordained ministry and religious life. Grant them the grace to hear you and to respond wholeheartedly. May Mary Immaculate, the mother of your Son and the patroness of our diocese, intercede for us. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Paul VI's Prayer on the First World Day of Prayer for Vocations

“O Jesus, divine Shepherd of souls, you called the apostles and made them fishers of men. Continue to draw to yourself ardent and generous souls from among the young, in order to make them your followers and your ministers. Give them a share in your thirst for the redemption of all… Open before them the horizons of the entire world…By responding to your call, may they prolong your mission here on earth, build up your Mystical Body, which is the Church, and be ‘the salt of the earth’ and ‘the light of the world’ (Mt 5:13)”. (April 11, 1964)

Prayer for Discernment for Vocations to Religious Life, Priesthood, and Diaconate

There is so much competing for my attention, God,
and all I want is to know you better.
Reach through my busy days to draw me closer to you.
I ask for wisdom to make decisions that lead me to the light.
I ask for light to follow the path that leads me to love.
I ask for love to fill my heart that searches for you.
All of this, my God, I ask so that I may
be your mercy to each and all.

Written by Sister Danielle Gagnon, RSM 

Prayers of the Faithful

For young men and women, that God may give them the gift of understanding to discern their service in the Church, the priesthood, diaconate, or consecrated life; And for the gift of courage to follow His call. We pray to the Lord....

For young people, that they may know the personal love of the Lord for them and respond with open and generous hearts. We pray to the Lord....

Study on Ordinations in the Church

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations released a study on ordinations in the Church conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University. A few of the major findings of the report are:

  • On average, responding ordinands first consider the priesthood when they are 16 years old.
  • Around 40% of respondents attended a Catholic school on the K-12 and/or college level.
  • Around 90% were encouraged to consider the priesthood by someone in their life (most frequently, the parish priest, friend, or another parishioner).

Another interesting statistic was that before entering the seminary, 72% of those set for ordination prayed the Rosary.

Pope Francis on Vocations

God addresses a particular call to each of us. He touches our lives by his love and directs them to our ultimate goal, to a fulfilment that transcends the very threshold of death.

As Christians, we do not only receive a vocation individually; we are also called together. We are like the tiles of a mosaic. Each is lovely in itself, but only when they are put together do they form a picture. Each of us shines like a star in the heart of God and in the firmament of the universe. At the same time, though, we are called to form constellations that can guide and light up the path of humanity, beginning with the places in which we live.

When we speak of ‘vocation,’ then, it is not just about choosing this or that way of life, devoting one’s life to a certain ministry or being attracted by the charism of a religious family, movement or ecclesial community. It is about making God’s dream come true, the great vision of fraternity that Jesus cherished when he prayed to the Father ‘that they may all be one’ (Jn 17:21). Each vocation in the Church, and in a broader sense in society, contributes to a common objective: to celebrate among men and women that harmony of manifold gifts that can only be brought about by the Holy Spirit.


Diocese of Portland Office of Vocations

The Path to the Priesthood

Litany for Vocations (External Link)

Pope Francis' Message 2024 English / Spanish (External Link)

Pope Francis' Message 2023 English / Spanish (External Link)

Pope Francis' Message 2022 English / Spanish (External Link)

Pope Francis' Message 2021 English / Spanish (External Link)

Postcards to color for children (External link)

Prayers for Vocations

Prayers for Vocations (USCCB / External Link)

World Day of Prayer for Vocations Website (External Link)