ON THIS FOURTH SUNDAY IN THE SEASON OF EASTER – “GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY” – we see the extraordinary love for us, as God’s children, that God has taken in Jesus the form of the Good Shepherd who “laid down his life for his sheep” (today’s Gospel). He is the one and only path to salvation for crippled humanity (today’s Second Reading and Psalm): a salvation that is so profound it is not limited to an external alteration or a change in legal status, but actually makes us be children of God: something to marvel at, even if we don’t yet know the half of the story. This is also World Day of Prayer for Vocations – remembering that Jesus has always shepherded His people through those to whom, following Peter and His apostles, He has repeated, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17). He is still calling young men to the priesthood and religious life as shepherds, and young women to the religious life and consecrated life where they can exercise their unique, God-given gifts and talents of caring for God’s loved ones. We have to be truly grateful for the ones who listen to His call and are willing, like Him, to “lay down their life” freely. It is, after all, the only life they have. And priests and religious give it up to shepherd His people. I have always admired the fact that there are young Christians around us who are prepared to think, “Well, I do only have one life; but there are others who need that life of mine more than I need it myself.” And they give it. They really are the greatest among us. We are indeed fortunate to have four seminarians of our Diocese who are to be ordained to the Order of Deacon on Friday, May 1: Jeremiah Guappone, Timothy Lynch, Stephen Smith, and Daniel Swartz. On Saturday, May 23, we have six transitional Deacons of our Diocese who are to be ordained priests: Rev. Mr. Anthony Davis (St. Joseph Parish, Dover), who has been with us this past year, Rev. Mr. Sean Dooley (St. Nicholas Parish, Zanesville), Rev. Mr. Tom Gardner (St. Catharine of Siena Parish, Columbus), Rev. Mr. Michael Hartge (St. Matthew Parish, Gahanna), Rev. Mr. Brian O’Connor (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Pickerington), and Rev. Mr. Nic Ventura (St. Mary Parish, Lancaster). On this World Day of Prayer for Vocations please pray for these and all of our seminarians – including Mr. Chris Yakkel, our seminarian of St. Joseph Cathedral – and for all who are discerning a vocation to the priesthood and religious life. If you are discerning a vocation to the priesthood or religious life, please contact Fr, Paul Noble, Director of Vocations, at (614) 221-5565, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Of special note this Sunday we have our children of Holy Cross making their First Holy Communion, and next Sunday our children of Saint Joseph Cathedral will be making with First Holy Communion. We pray for them as they take this very important step in their sacramental lives, and for their families as well as they continue to nurture their children in living a life in Christ in the practices of Catholic faith.