Princeps pastorum

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Princeps pastorum
(Latin: Prince of the shepherds)
Encyclical letter of Pope John XXIII
John 23 coa.svg
Grata Recordatio Cercle jaune 50%.svg Mater et magistra
Date 28 November 1959
Argument About the missionary apostolate
Encyclical number 4 of 8 of the pontificate
Text in Latin
in English

Princeps pastorum (Latin for 'Prince of the shepherds') is the title of an encyclical letter promulgated by Pope John XXIII on 28 November 1959. It is derived from a biblical passage: I Peter 5:4. In its English translation the letter opens with the phrase On the day when "the Prince of the shepherds" entrusted to Us His lambs and sheep. It refers to Jesus Christ.

It celebrates the success of Roman Catholic missions to promote the faith, encourages the fostering of native clergy in the countries to which the missions extended and emphasises the importance of lay Catholics as representatives of the church in non-Catholic countries.