World Day of Prayer for Vocations is the Fourth Sunday of Easter, also called Good Shepherd Sunday because of the Gospel readings. It has been celebrated by the Church since 1964, when the visionary Pope Paul VI recognized a decline in priestly vocations and called all Catholics to intercede for an increase in vocations.
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). As a climax to a prayer that is continually offered throughout the Church, it affirms the primacy of faith and grace in all that concerns vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life. While appreciating all vocations, the Church concentrates its attention this day on vocations to the ordained ministries (priesthood and diaconate), consecrated life in all its forms (male and female religious, societies of apostolic life, consecrated virginity), secular institutes in their diversity of services and membership, and to the missionary life.