Following this year’s unique celebrations of the Vocation Sunday in the world, I had my mind focused on: the best ways of celebrating the Good Sepherd Sunday and the priestly/ religious vocation! This came about as I found more and more priests, Bishops. Cardinals and our Holy Father, Pope Francis, offered us good food for thought on this special day which the Church also celebrates as the Good Shepherd Sunday. Virtually all the homilies and reflections one has read so far to mark the occasion, have been found to be quite spiritually captivating, instructive, and supportive of the vocation of the priesthood. They have also helped me personally to reflect deeply on the mission of the Holy Family Society which provides room for our Rev. Fathers to play the role of father Joseph in promoting and sustaining our family spirituality programmes for the benefit of families striving to win eternal life at the end of their sojourn here on earth. From all indications, no one should be in doubt that the priesthood is very well supported and protected by St Joseph, who gave all he was endowed with to support, educate, and protect his foster Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who himself wants all priests to imitate him as another Christ.
Any wonder therefore that priests and consecrated persons who are actively involved in the promotion of the virtues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the Holy Family of Nazareth, are overwhelmed by their abundance of graces? It is this abundance of graces available to those in the priestly and religious vocations that should naturally encourage our growing youths to take positive steps towards embracing joyously the priesthood and/or religious life since there is great assurance that they will be under the protective arms of St Joseph, the spiritual head of the Holy Family. It shouldn’t then be a big surprise to anyone if the number of priests and religious who prosper in deep spirituality in our Church community has become a good source of encouragement for many youths who want to give their lives to God by embracing priestly or religious life. What is seemingly obvious to many Christians at this point in time is that St Joseph assures each and every one of us that no matter our vocation/ profession be it priesthood, religious life, matrimony, carpentry, brick-layering, medical practice, engineering, teaching, etc., we can see the face of God if we imitate him by putting into practice the virtues he willingly and consciously exemplified in this world.
May all our people in different professions, especially all our priests and consecrated persons who have just had their special celebration of the Vocation Sunday realize that they are all under the protective hands of St Joseph who exemplified the virtues of simplicity, humility, self-sacrifice, self-abandonment, prayerfulness, patience, etc., all in a bid to fulfill the Will of God, and not his own will. Amen. He is a model for all our priests and religious to imitate for them to really prosper in the work of evangelization. Others with different vocations also need to do the same. Let us therefore make it a point of duty to always participate in the celebration of the Good Shepherd Sunday as a day of rejoicing specially with all our priests and consecrated persons for having a spiritual father in St Joseph who they can always run to, for the purpose of re-fueling their spiritual energies to be able to carry on effectively with their God-given assignments in God’s vineyard. As we all join in the celebration of the Vocation Sunday, may none of us miss the opportunity of reaching out to the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, for our own protection and guidance. Amen. Holy Family: Be our model and our inspiration!
• Sir David E. Osunde is the Founder/National Coordinator, Holy Family Society.