Feast of the Good Shepherd

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A stained-glass at St John the Baptist Anglican Church in Ashfield, New South Wales, Australia, by Alfred Handel (d. 1946) illustrates Jesus’ description of Himself as “the Good Shepherd” (Jn 10:11). This version of the image shows a close up of the key features of the scene. (Toby Hudson, Public Domain/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

April 22

“I am the Good Shepherd. A good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep” (Jn 10:11). Jesus speaks these words in the Gospel reading for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, known as Good Shepherd Sunday.

“Turn now to consider how these words of our Lord imply a test for yourselves also. Ask yourselves whether you belong to His flock, whether you know Him, whether the light of His truth shines in your minds,” writes Pope St. Gregory the Great in a homily on the Good Shepherd, taken from the Liturgy of the Hours for that day. “I assure you that it is not by faith that you will come to know Him, but by love; not by mere conviction, but by action.”

The day also coincides with the World Day of Prayer for Vocations affirming 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), to the Religious life in all its forms (male and female, contemplative and apostolic), to societies of apostolic life, to secular institutes in their diversity of services and membership and to the missionary life.

Good Shepherd of the Desert Mission in Congress and Good Shepherd Mission in New River, as well as the Scottsdale-based National Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd are under the patronage of Christ the Good Shepherd.