Each month, Pope Francis asks the entire Church to join him in praying for a specific cause. This month—April 2017—Pope Francis is asking us to pray for young people and their vocational discernment. Here’s the official request:
Pope Francis’ Prayer Intention for April 2017:
That young people may respond generously to their vocations and seriously consider offering themselves to God in the priesthood or consecrated life.
A traditional way of praying for the Pope’s intentions is to pray an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory Be “for the Pope’s intentions,” but what if you wanted to get a little more specific? We’ve put together a few ideas to help get you started:
- US Bishops’ Prayer for Young Adults
- Prayer to Know My Vocation
- Prayer to Our Lady for Vocations
- Prayer for Holy Priests
- Lectio Divina (external links)
Praying is the best and most effective way to bring about supernatural change in the world. If you’d like to get your hands dirty with other actions in addition to prayer, here are some things you might like to try:
- Check out the Vocation Match Generator at Vision Vocation Network. If you’ve ever thought about considering a religious vocation, hop on the Match Generator. Answer some questions (age, sex, do you want to wear a habit, level of education, etc), and the Vocation Match Generator will filter through hundreds of religious communities and give a list of the ones that might be a great match for you. A few clicks connects you with any communities from your list. TOO COOL!
- Talk to your Diocese’s Vocations Director. He can help you discern a call and if you’re looking into religious life, direct you who to talk to. Find you Vocations Director using this directory.
- Pray a Rosary for vocations. You can download a FREE PDF version of the book “Praying for Vocations: A Meditated Rosary for Vocations to the Priesthood and Consecrated Life” from Maria Regina Cleri at PrayingForOurPriests.org – click on the “Praying for Vocations” link under “Download Prayers” on the sidebar.
- Pray the Stations of the Cross for vocations. A few options: a PDF download from the USCCB, and a web-based Stations for Priests from Maria Regina Cleri. The page also includes an audio version, and you can download the free PDF of their book Praying for Our Priests (which includes the Stations, the Rosary, and a Holy Hour for priests!) by clicking on the “Praying for Priests” link under “Download Prayers” on their website’s sidebar.
- The Vision Vocation Network has TONS of resources on their website: prayers, articles, guides, all sorts of stuff. There’s a lot of really good information you can dive into.
- The USCCB’s Discernment Tools for Vocations is a helpful list of questions to help you think and pray through discovering your vocation, whatever it may be.
- The Vowed Life is a quick overview of women’s religious life, put together by the USCCB. It’s a nice quick read that shares the basics of being a Sister. Also check out the USCCB’s general women’s discernment page.
- The USCCB’s Vocations Videos, organized in playlists for Men, Women, Educators, Parents, and Vocation Directors. They also have a few videos in Spanish.
US Bishops’ Prayer for Young Adults [back to prayer list]
Gracious and Loving God,
Help these young men and women to be a light for all the world to see,
in all the places they live and work. Let their light shine for all peoples:
for their families,
for their church communities,
for their cultures and societies,
for the economic and political systems,
for the whole world.
Coming into the room where the disciples were gathered after the resurrection,
“Jesus, your son, said: Peace be with you!” (Jn 20:21).
Make these men and women bearers of Christ’s peace.
“Blessed are the peacemakers,
Teach them the meaning of what was said on the mountain:
for they shall be called sons and daughters of God” (cf. Mt 5:9).
Send them, Father, as you sent your son:
to free their brothers and sisters from fear and sin.
We ask this of you, in Christ’s name. Amen.
Adapted from the Papal Homily for WYD 1995, Manila
Prayer to Know My Vocation [back to prayer list]
My Lord and my God. You are love itself, the Source of all love and goodness. Out of love You created me to know You, to love You, and to serve You in a unique way, as no one else can. I believe that You have a plan for my life, that You have a mission in your Kingdom reserved for me alone. Your plan and your mission are far better than any other I might choose, they will glorify You, fulfill the desires of my heart, and bring salvation to those souls who are depending on my generous response.
Lord, grant me the light of grace I need to see the next step in your plan; grant me the generosity necessary to follow your call; and grant me the courage required to take up my cross and to follow You.
Show me your will, O gentle and eternal God, and help me to say with Mary, “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” Let me say with Jesus, “let not my will be done, but Yours.” Amen.
Prayer to Our Lady for Vocations [back to prayer list]
Hail Mary, full of grace;
all generations call you blessed.
Hail Mother of God; when asked by the angel
to bear the Son of the Most High,
filled with faith, you responded:
“Let it be done unto me.”
Holy Mother of Jesus, at the wedding feast at Cana,
you prompted your Son to perform his first sign.
Be with us as we discern our life’s work
and guide us in the way we are called to follow
in the footsteps of your Son.
Holy Mother of the Savior, at the foot of the cross
you mourned the death of your only Son.
Bless and embrace the loving parents of all priests,
deacons, brothers and sisters.
Holy Mother of the Good Shepherd,
turn your motherly care to this nation.
Intercede for us to the Lord of the harvest
to send more laborers to the harvest
in this land dedicated to your honor.
Queen of Peace, Mirror of Justice, Health of the Sick,
inspire vocations in our time.
Let the word of your Son be made flesh anew
in the lives of persons anxious to proclaim
the good news of everlasting life.
Prayer for Holy Priests [back to prayer list]
Lord Jesus, we pray to you for the Catholic priesthood.
Give us more priests, but most especially we ask you
to give us holy priests. Messengers of a truth
that is all-encompassing and eternal, holy priests
who know how to offer this truth
to the people of their own time and place.
Holy men for today, priests firmly rooted in the tradition,
yet imbued with the spirit of this age.
They have undertaken a mission in your name, Lord.
May the reflection of your power in them always make it clear
that they are your witnesses.
Grant that they may conform their lives to the paschal mystery
that they celebrate each day in the Eucharist.
May they sense in this mystery the anxious hunger of the world
and of their own brothers and sisters for salvation.
May they know, despite this hunger,
how to respect the spiritual freedom of others;
for it is your word which has given the world a taste for this freedom.
May they understand and speak the language of their own time.
And may they be careful never to compromise,
with opinions that come and go, the imperishable newness of your Gospel.
May they always keep through the dark wintry night of the soul
an obstinate hope for the springtime to come.
And when they meet those who persecute you,
may they always remember the road to Damascus
and the hidden ways of your providence.
2017 Intentions | Apostleship of Prayer
Young Adults | USCCB
Prayer to Our Lady for Vocations | USCCB
Prayer for Holy Priests | USCCB
Lectio Divina on the Meaning of a Call | USCCB
The Stations of the Cross for Priests | Maria Regina Cleri
Videos on Vocations | USCCB
Discernment Tools | USCCB
Vocation Match Generator | Vision Vocation Network
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