Good Shepherd Sunday 2021 – Ennis Cathedral – Saturday 25th of April – 2021
Good Shepherd, Vocation Sunday
This is Good Shepherd Sunday, because the readings are about the care we receive from Christ, our true shepherd. It is also a day of prayer for Vocations to priesthood, religious life and all the other occupations and states of life people are engaged in – your life is your calling, your vocation.
Today, we focus in a special way on and pray earnestly for an increase in vocations to the religious life and priesthood. In Killaloe diocese at present, we have one student, Antun Pasalic who is to be ordained deacon on the 23rd of May, Pentecost Sunday which leaves him very close to being ordained a priest.
At this very moment, Br. Damien of the Franciscan Order who worked here as a deacon for the past year is coming to the end of the ceremony of ordination to priesthood. We wish him and Antun well and keep both in our prayers.
Throughout church history, “pastoring” (shepherding) has been a prime image for leadership and care, and today pastoral ministry includes not only those ordained but many who follow different calls to serve and lead others by their example.
New Ministries – Killaloe Diocese
Thank God in our diocese of Killaloe there are 25 lay people, 20 women and 5 men who are undergoing training for the ministries of Pastoral Care and Catechists. These are people who are parents, partners, home-makers and workers of all kinds who are generously and publicly offering themselves in the service of God’s people. They will work in collaboration with parish and pastoral area teams and with all who work in service of the local faith community. They have just completed 3 years of spiritual and academic training and their training now moves into the next phase of that training where they will develop the skills needed in ministry. They will be the shepherdesses and shepherds of the future who will bring vibrancy and added meaning to pastoral care and leadership in our parishes.
Image of Jesus as Shepherd Who Protects
There is no image that has captured the Christian imagination so powerfully as the image of the Jesus as our Good Shepherd. Jesus leads us and is present with us in all our difficult times:
- Personal trouble that comes in various forms to all our doors.
- Jesus sorts out indecision, need and confusion as they arise in our lives.
Pope Francis – Jesus the Good Shepherd
Pope Francis, when he became Pope, chose to keep a precious possession that he had in Buenos Aires – his pectoral cross which is the cross a bishop wears on his chest.
Pope Francis’ cross is a simple silver cross; on it is the image of Jesus the Good Shepherd. Around Jesus’ neck, is the image of a lost sheep, found and returned to the flock.
The pope treasures the image of Christ the Shepherd who goes after the lost one, the stray sheep, the poor and marginalised and like a good shepherd Pope Francis is not happy until the lost one is reunited with the flock or community of believers.
And that is our vocation or calling as Christians: to be Shepherds to one another. We must all live as though we wear an invisible pectoral cross on our chests depicting our commitment as Shepherds. Invisible, because it lies over and within our hearts which is the source of all loving and good Shepherds.