The purpose of World Day of Prayer for Vocations is to publicly fulfill the Lord’s instruction to “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest.” (Mt 9:38; Lk 10:2). It is the pinnacle of a prayer that is continually offered throughout the Church. It affirms the primacy of faith and grace in all vocations to ordination, to consecrated life and to lay ministry. The Church concentrates its attention this day on vocations to the ordained ministries (priesthood and diaconate) and to the consecrated life (religious sisters and brothers). We invite the entire collaborative to commit their prayers today to an increase in vocations.

Did you know ancient and medieval liturgies document women were ordained as deacons by their bishops within the sanctuary during Mass? Such ordinations occurred in the presence of the clergy, through the imposition of hands, by the invocation of the Holy Spirit. These women self-communicated from the chalice and the bishop placed the stole around their necks. The Second Vatican Council restored the diaconate as a permanent vocation. The council noted men already functioned as deacons and thus “it is only right to strengthen them by the imposition of hands… that they may carry out their ministry more effectively because of the sacramental grace of the diaconate.” Many women function as deacons today. If you feel so moved, pray that the second papal commission gathered by the Holy Father this coming fall would recommend the restoration of women to the diaconate.

April 25: World Day of Prayer for Vocations