The Fourth Sunday of Easter offers us the figure of the Good Shepherd who knows His sheep: He calls them, He feeds them and He guides them. For over fifty years the universal Church has celebrated this Sunday as the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. In this way she reminds us of our need to pray, as Jesus Himself told His disciples, so that “the Lord of the harvest may send out labourers into his harvest” (Lk 10:2). Jesus command came in the context of His sending out missionaries. He called not only the twelve Apostles, but another seventy-two disciples whom He then sent out, two by two, for the mission (cf. Lk 10:1-6).
Since the Church “is by her very nature missionary” (Ad Gentes, 2), the Christian vocation is necessarily born of the experience of mission.
Hearing and following the voice of Christ the Good Shepherd, means letting ourselves be attracted and guided by Him, in consecration to Him; it means allowing the Holy Spirit to draw us into this missionary dynamism, awakening within us the desire, the joy and the courage to offer our own lives in the service of the Kingdom of God.
To offer one’s life in mission is possible only if we are able to leave ourselves behind. On this 52nd World Day of Prayer for Vocations, I would like reflect on that particular “exodus” which is the heart of vocation, or better yet, of our response to the vocation God gives us. When we hear the word “exodus”, we immediately think of the origins of the amazing love story between God and His people, a history which passes through the dramatic period of slavery in Egypt, the calling of Moses, the experience of liberation and the journey toward the Promised Land.
In it, Vicar General (Pastoral) Msgr Ambrose Vaz recalls how he was attracted to the priestly ministry as a young altar server and observing the life of his then parish priest, the late Paris Foreign Missionary Fr Louis Amiotte.
“The priest who said Mass and the priest who helped people. That whole identity was what I liked,” he said.
CatholicNews begins a series on some of the archdiocesan offices to help readers understand their roles
When the Chancery first moved into its physical office at Waterloo Street in December 2013, it was starting on a completely blank slate.
For Ms Regina Lim, one of two Chancery staff during those days, the initial set-up was “a steep learning curve” as they had to understand numerous Human Resource (HR) matters and ministry-related documents in a cycle of standardising procedures and guidelines, fine-tuning and revision.
In a nutshell, the Chancery is an arm of the archbishop’s offices – collectively known as the Curia – that handles administrative functions such as HR, clergy matters and records management and archives. Far from being bureaucratic however, the Chancery is pastoral.
In her book, Quiet Journeys – Finding Stillness in Chaos, Good Shepherd Sr Elizabeth Lim says that “the burdensome restlessness that plagues most of society” boils down to a lack of reflection.
Good Shepherd Oasis, established in 1998 by Sr Elizabeth, hopes to bring one to experience contemplation in silence and be rested in God.
People who go on retreat at Oasis, now located on Level 4 of Good Shepherd Place, Lorong 8 Toa Payoh, have told her, “I don’t know why I don’t know where I am [in life’s journey].” Sr Elizabeth says this is in the heart of various individuals.
“It is so important to help individuals understand the real meaning of who they are... what it is that they love, what God wills in their lives.” This is why, she adds, “retreats and days of quiet and reflection have to be considered a little bit more.”