Dear St. Martin’s Parishioners,
The fourth Sunday of Easter is known as Good Shepherd Sunday. The gospel is always taken from John 10, where Jesus declares himself to be the Good Shepherd. I encourage you to prayerfully read all of John 10 this weekend to deepen your own gratitude for being members of Christ’s flock. In a special way we pray for vocations to the priesthood this Sunday. Every priest shares in the Good Shepherd’s charism of tending and guiding the flock to eternal life.
My vocation to the priesthood was nurtured by my parents, who were the first to educate and evangelize me in the faith. At sixteen years old, I felt the first inklings of a call to the priesthood. I saw in the figure of my uncle, Msgr. Wells, a priest who was willing to lay down his life for his sheep, and to do so joyfully. I don’t think there’s anything more inspiring and fostering of vocations than sacrificial love lived out joyfully. At that time, I discovered the gift of daily Mass, a practice I carried into college. Around that same time, my devotion to Mary and Divine Mercy took on new life. Without Mary’s motherhood and the gift of mercy I received in Confession, my vocation would have never developed. During my college years, Eucharistic adoration, other examples of joyful priests, and twice-yearly retreats helped me to continually hear the Good Shepherd’s voice. Finally, with the help of a spiritual director, I was able to answer the Lord’s call to enter the seminary. Looking back at my own path to the priesthood, I see how important family, prayer, exemplary priests, a supportive community, and the sacraments were for me in discerning the Lord’s call. When Jesus says in this Sundays’ gospel, “My sheep hear my voice,” he uses all of these means to call us: family, friends, the Church, Mary, and sacramental encounters with his forgiveness and love. I know even at this moment, more than a few young men at St. Martin’s are thinking of the Good Shepherd’s call in their lives. Pray that the Lord strengthen them with all the graces necessary to fully respond to his call!
May is sacramental season. Over the next couple of weeks well over a hundred of our parish’s youth will receive the sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation, with a few more being baptized. Pray that as these young people become more fully alive in Christ, they may receive all the support and grace they need to be faithful disciples of Christ.
In the heart of the Good Shepherd,