Category Archives: Catholic priesthood

Priest: be ministerially faithful & live a life of prayer

Pope Benedict ordains priests.jpgBenedict XVI highlighted the most important points in
the life of a priest: “Your faithfulness in the exercise of the ministry
and the life of prayer, your search for holiness, your total self-giving to God
at the service of your brothers and sisters, as you expend your lives and
energy in order to promote justice, fraternity, solidarity and sharing.” (Discourse
to Priests in the Sanctuary of Aparecida, Brasil, 12 May 2007)

International Priests’ Retreat: Ars 2009

There will be a retreat offered for priests September 27th to October 3rd in Ars, France. 


“You who are priests are invited to participate in this moment of spiritual strengthening. It will enable all of us to be renewed in our ministry and to taste the joy of a fraternal encounter among priests from the world over. This will be the occasion to pray fervently for priestly vocations.” 

Mgr Bagnard

The program looks very promising. For more information found here.

Pope asks priests to focus on Christ in prayer in order to serve

This paragraph from the Pope’s homily for the May 3rd
priesthood ordinations is a good example of the Pope’s holy agenda for priests,
indeed, for all who are called to serve the Lord and His Church. As the Pope
says, this is dear to his heart…

priest adoring.jpg…prayer
and its ties with service. We have seen that to be ordained priests means to
enter in a sacramental and existential way into Christ’s prayer for “his
own”. From this we priests derive a particular vocation to pray in a
strongly Christocentric sense: we are called, that is, to “remain”
in Christ
as the evangelist John likes to repeat (cf. Jn 1: 35-39; 15:
4-10) and this abiding in Christ is achieved especially through prayer
. Our
ministry is totally tied to this “abiding” which is equivalent to
prayer, and draws from this its efficacy
. In this perspective, we must
think of the different forms of prayer of a priest, first of all daily Holy
Mass. The Eucharistic Celebration is the greatest and highest act of prayer,
and constitutes the centre and the source from which even the other forms
receive “nourishment”
: the Liturgy of the Hours,
Eucharistic adoration, Lectio Divina, the Holy Rosary, meditation. All these
expressions of prayer, which have their centre in the Eucharist, fulfill the
words of Jesus in the priest’s day and in all his life: “I am the good
shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know
the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep” (Jn 10: 14-15). In fact,
this “knowing” and “being known” in Christ and, through
him, in the Most Holy Trinity, is none other than the most true and deep
reality of prayer
. The priest who prays a lot, and who prays well,
is progressively drawn out of himself and evermore united to Jesus the Good
Shepherd and the Servant of the Brethren. In conforming to him, even the priest
“gives his life” for the sheep entrusted to him
. No one
takes it from him: he offers it himself, in unity with Christ the Lord, who has
the power to give his life and the power to take it back not only for himself,
but also for his friends, bound to him in the Sacrament of Orders. Thus the
life of Christ, Lamb and Shepherd, is communicated to the whole flock, through
the consecrated ministers.

Indulgence given for the Year of the Priest

Holy See.jpg

Today, James
Cardinal Stafford, the Major Apostolic Penitentiary (or visit this link) announced that during the Year for Priests, June 19, 2009 –
June 19, 2010, the Pope Benedict will grant plenary indulgences to priests and
the faithful.

The year will
begin on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, “a day of priestly
sanctification,” when the Holy Father “will celebrate Vespers before relics” of
Saint John Mary Vianney, patron saint of priests.

In recent years
we’ve been blessed with many favors granted through the pious work of Pope
Benedict. I, for one, am grateful to receive the Pope’s solicitude for my
destiny, for my soul. Why am I happy? I am happy about this because I happen to
think the Pope is a man who enjoys a deep communion with the Lord and he is
guided by the Holy Spirit. His spiritual paternity is one that connects with my
desires to be a man prayer grounded in my desires for communion with God and
neighbor. I don’t want to be controlled by sin; I don’t want to be a sinner all
my life; I don’t want to be ungrateful for the gifts I’ve received from the
Lord: life, parents and family, friends and colleagues, humor and intellect,
desire and faith, etc. Life is not easy. Christian living is even tougher some
days and I know what I am capable of and what I am not. Two favorite scripture
passages that focus my attention in daily living are: “O God, be merciful to me
a sinner” and “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”

What is
distressing about some of the criticism about indulgences is the ignorance of intelligent
Catholics. There is a group of people who lack understanding of a sense of
grace and mediation of the Church for our salvation are highly skeptical about
the resurgence of talk on indulgences. You ask what is an indulgence and why
are we speaking about indulgences again. In short, the point of an indulgence is that it “intends as its primary aim to stimulate the faithful in their fervor of charity, and thereby in the worthy reception of the Sacraments and the carrying out of the works of mercy and penance.” More information can be gained by
reading the article at this link.

The means to
obtain the indulgence, this favor, are as follows:

(A) All truly
penitent priests who, on any day, devotedly pray Lauds or Vespers before the
Blessed Sacrament exposed to public adoration or in the tabernacle, and …
offer themselves with a ready and generous heart for the celebration of the
Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Penance, will be granted a Plenary
Indulgence, which they can also apply to their deceased confreres, if in
accordance with current norms they take Sacramental Confession and the
Eucharist and pray in accordance with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.
Priests are furthermore granted a Partial Indulgence, also applicable to
deceased confreres, every time they devotedly recite the prayers duly approved
to lead a saintly life and to carry out the duties entrusted to them.

(B) All truly
penitent Christian faithful who, in church or oratory, devotedly attend Holy
Mass and offer prayers to Jesus Christ, supreme and eternal Priest, for the
priests of the Church, or perform any good work to sanctify and mold them to
His Heart, are granted a Plenary Indulgence, on the condition that they have
expiated their sins through Sacramental Confession and prayed in accordance
with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff. This may be done on the opening and
closing days of the Year of Priests, on the 150th anniversary of the death of
Saint John Mary Vianney, on the first Thursday of the month, or on any other
day established by the ordinaries of particular places for the good of the

The elderly, the
sick and all those who for any legitimate reason are unable to leave their
homes, may still obtain a plenary indulgence if, with the soul completely
removed from attachment to any form of sin and with the intention of observing,
as soon as they can, the usual three conditions, “on the days concerned,
they pray for the sanctification of priests and offer their sickness and
suffering to God through Mary, Queen of the Apostles.”

A partial indulgence will be offered to the faithful each time they pray five “Our Father,” “Hail Mary,” and “Glory Be,” or any other duly approved prayer “in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to ask that priests maintain purity and sanctity of life.”

The priest

Pope Benedict ordains priests2.jpg

Bishop William Lori ordained two men to the diaconate today; they’ll be ordained priests next year. Saturday, May 16, the Bishop  ordains six men to the priesthood. These are happy days for the diocese of Bridgeport. So, I was thinking about the priesthood and what it means. While there are vast amounts of literature on nature of the priesthood, I thought Saint John Vianney would be an appropriate sounding board for today.

priest is not a priest for himself; he does not give himself absolution; he
does not administer the Sacraments to himself. He is not for himself, he is for
you. After God, the priest is everything. Leave a parish twenty years without
priests; they will worship beasts. If the missionary Father and I were to go
away, you would say, “What can we do in this church? there is no Mass; Our Lord
is not longer there: we may as well pray at home.” When people wish to destroy
religion, they begin by attacking the priest, because where there is no longer
any priest there is no sacrifice, and where there is no longer any sacrifice
there is no religion.

John-Mary Vianney, The Little Catechism of the Cure of Ars

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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