WILKES-BARRE – It was nearly standing room only inside Saint Nicholas Church in Wilkes-Barre on April 21, 2024, as the faithful gathered to celebrate the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, served as principal celebrant of the 12:15 p.m. liturgy, which was celebrated in Spanish.

Saint Nicholas Church in Wilkes-Barre was nearly standing room only for the Diocese of Scranton’s annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations Mass on April 21, the Fourth Sunday of Easter. (Photos/Mike Melisky)

“In every stage of our life, we all come to a pause where we don’t know where to head. In times of trouble and need, we look up to God and ask him to clear a path and step into the next path of our life,” Angel Munoz of Saint Nicholas-Saint Mary Parish, said after the celebration. “It was an honor to have the Bishop here.”

The Mass was filled with many young people, some who say they considered a call to religious life because of the strong faith of their family.

“At a young age, I knew it was a possibility,” Marie Vazquez Perez of Saint-Nicholas-Saint Mary Parish, explained. “We come from many generations that are very religious, my grandmother and my mother, so I knew that was always a possibility. It didn’t happen for me, but I did think about the paths that I could take.”

Following Mass, Bishop Bambera offered many individual blessings to young people. A new CARA report shows personal encouragement is crucial in fostering priestly vocations.

Even though Perez did not pursue a religious life vocation, she still participates in her parish by helping with religious education, Our Lady of Guadalupe activities and the choir.

“I think he is still calling me in many different ways,” she added.

Adriana Sosa, who participated in the Mass as an altar server, agrees.

I feel God calls me in many ways. Throughout life, I have been dedicated to helping out a lot of people,” Sosa said. “He has made me into someone who volunteers.”


Personal encouragement and Eucharistic Adoration are crucial in fostering vocations to the priesthood, according to data from a newly released report.

On April 15, Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate released the 2024 “Survey of Ordinands to the Priesthood,” a report made directly to the Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The CARA report was released just days before the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

Most respondents said they had first considered a vocation to the priesthood when they were 16 years old, and the average age of ordination was 34, a number consistent with the range of 33-37 reported since 1999.

CARA’s executive director, Jesuit Father Thomas Gaunt, told OSV News that direct encouragement of young men to consider priestly life is a “perennial factor” in vocations, with 89% of the respondents, or nine in 10, reporting they had received such support – usually from a parish priest (63%), friend (41%) or parishioner (41%).

“You could almost say that … no one shows up at the seminary who was not encouraged,” Father Gaunt said.

Eucharistic adoration also emerged as significant in vocational discernment, with 75% of the respondents noting they had regularly prayed before the Blessed Sacrament prior to entering the seminary.