Category Archives: Catholic priesthood

Father Henry Tim Vakoc, US Army Major, RIP

Fr Major Henry T Vakoc.jpgThe Lord called Father H. Tim Vakoc, US Army Major, to himself on June 20th.

Father Tim was a priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and some have said that he was the first US priest killed as a part of the war. He was 17 years ordained a priest, living the last 5 years of his priestly witness recovering from injuries sustained in Iraq. Those injuries were suffered on his 12th anniversary of ordination. Among Father’s awards he was a recipient of the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
Father Tim was a member of the Knights of Columbus for 31 years.
Let us pray in thanksgiving for Father Vokac, for the his family, friends, caregivers and the US Army.

Well done good and faithful servant.

St. Mary’s Abbey priest-monks celebrate anniversaries

Abbot Giles with Frs Rembert & Beatus.jpgOn the eve of the Year of the Priest, you can see various celebrations recognizing the witness of priestly service in dioceses, religious orders and abbeys. The Benedictine monks of Saint Mary’s Abbey (Morristown, NJ) recently celebrated the 50th anniversaries of two monks. In the photo you see Abbot Giles Hayes with Reverend Fathers Rembert and Beatus. Both monks have served the Lord and the Church for a long and courageous time. Both Father Rembert and Father Beatus have witnessed to Jesus Christ and his mercy in a variety of ways that have touched the minds and hearts of many people. Let me say that I enjoyed Father Beatus’ preaching and his appreciation of art through history, culture and faith. Let us pray for these two monks and for all priests.

Divine Savior Jesus Christ, who has entrusted the
whole work of your redemption, the welfare, and salvation of the world to
priests as Your representatives, through the hands of your most holy Mother and
for the sanctification of your priests and candidates for the priesthood, I
offer you this present day wholly and entirely, with all its prayers, works,
joys, sacrifices, and sorrows. Give us truly holy priests who, inflamed with
the fire of Your divine love, seek nothing but Your greater glory and the
salvation of our souls. And you, Mary, good Mother of priests, protect all
priests in the dangers of their holy vocation and, with the loving hand of a
Mother, also lead back to the Good Shepherd those poor priests who have become
unfaithful to their exalted vocation and have gone astray. Amen.

composed by Dominican Father Peter John Cameron)

Where are all the priests?

Priestly Ordination 2.jpgA recent article on who has competence to remove priests from ministry permanently is interesting and yet depressing. But it is a matter of reality that some men ordained to the priesthood of Jesus Christ do not remain priests. To think since the Second Vatican Council, as some researchers and commentators have  claimed, 100,000 priests have left their vocation as priests. If true, this fact is overwhelming to grasp.

One of my intentions is to pray for the priests who have left as well as though who currently serve as priests and seminarians preparing to be ordained. I am a bit selfish in mentioning the last intention since I fall in that category. Please join me in prayer in the coming year for these intentions.

“Being” determines “acting”: allowing the Good Shepherd to lead us to the Father

That today is Thursday, the day of the Eucharist and the priesthood, I thought I would republish most of the recent letter of Archbishop Piacenza (Secretary
for the Congregation for the Clergy) who writes to the world’s priests in view of the Year of the Priest. Reading the letter you see that he is right when he says that the holiness of
priests is not for themselves, it is a sacrificial holiness, an offering with
Christ, for the benefit of the entire Church. He writes to the priests:

Christ the Good Shepherd BMurillo.jpg

Each day we are called
to conversion, but we are called to it in a very particular way during this
year, in union with all those who have received the gift of priestly
ordination. Conversion to what? It is conversion to be ever more authentically
that which we already are, conversion to our ecclesial identity of which our
ministry is a necessary consequence, so that a renewed and joyous awareness of
our “being” will determine our “acting”, or rather will
create the space allowing Christ the Good Shepherd to live in us and to act
through us

Our spirituality must be nothing other than the spirituality
of Christ himself, the one and only Supreme High Priest of the New Testament.

In this year, which the Holy Father has providentially
announced, we will seek together to concentrate on the identity of Christ the
Son of God, in communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit
, who became man in
the virginal womb of Mary, and on his mission to reveal the Father and His
wondrous plan of salvation. This mission of Christ carries with it the building
up of the Church: behold the Good Shepherd (Cf. Jn. 19:1-21) who gives his life
for the Church (Cf. Eph. 5: 25).

Yes, conversion every day of our lives so that Christ’s
manner of life may be the manner of life made ever more manifest in each one of

We must exist for others, we must undertake to live with the
People in a union of holy and divine love
(which clearly presupposes the
richness of holy celibacy), which obliges us to live in authentic solidarity
with those who suffer and who live in a great many types of poverty.

We must be labourers for the building up of the one Church
of Christ
, for which we must live purposefully and faithfully the communion of
love with the Pope, with the Bishops, with our brother priests and with the
Faithful. We must live this communion with the unbroken pilgrimage of the
Church within the very sinews of the Mystical Body.

We should be able to run spiritually in this Year with a
“wide open heart” so as to inwardly conform to our vocation the
better to say, in truth “it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives
in me”
(Gal. 2:20).

The holiness of priests redounds to the benefit of the
entire ecclesial Body. Thus it would be most fitting for all of us, be that the
ordained Faithful, seminarians, the male and female religious, and the lay
Faithful, to find ourselves all together at the Vatican Basilica for the
Vespers presided over by the Holy Father, which will be celebrated after
welcoming the reliquary of the heart of that most outstanding priestly model
who is St. John Mary Vianney.

Those who are unable to be in City of Rome are encouraged to
join themselves spiritually to the occasion.

+Mauro Piacenza

Titular Archbishop of Vittoriana Segretario

NO such thing as second class grace

I have to admit that I am not a frequent reader of the spiritual theology of Saint Josemaría Escriva but I am more and more interested in what he said because I think there is something that corresponds to my heart. Time will tell how he will affect my my life. 

Here the saint briefly speaks to the fact that we are called by the Gospel to conform to Christ –a message I tried to get across to the parish youth group. Of course, speaking of following AND conforming the self to the Will of God is a hard concept to get across to anyone let alone young people. As Christians we follow; we also closely adhere to the cross while looking to the resurrection. Be careful, you don’t get the resurrection without the cross coming first.

Back to the saint’s thought: Saint Josemaria said, for example, about the matter of sanctity and priesthood:

There is no second class
sanctity: there is either a continuous struggle to be in the grace of God and
conformed to Christ our model or we desert these divine battles. Our Lord
invites everyone to sanctify himself in his own state. In Opus Dei this passion
for sanctity–in spite of our individual errors and miseries–is not changed by
the fact that one is a priest or a layperson.

Saint Josemaría, Homily, Priest for Eternity, 13 April 1973

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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