Tag Archives: priest

Is a Strong Priesthood In the World’s Future? asks Massimo Camisasca

Massimo Camisasca.jpgOn February 26th Zenit published an article by Father Massimo Camisasca looking at what he considers to be the pillars (prayer & Liturgy) of priestly reform in the Catholic Church. Reading a bit of Church history recently there’s been a lot to consider when thinking about the state of the Catholic Church viz. the rise of Portestantism and then the decline of the Christian religion in some parts of the US and the world. Father Massimo Camisasca is the founder and superior general of the Priestly Fraternity of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo. The Fraternity was founded in 1985 and recognized as a Society of Apostolic Life in 1999.


Statistical data of the past 30 years reveals an increase of 5% more diocesan priests worldwide, compared with an increase of 48% more baptized persons.
This alone could explain the question in the title of my latest book, “Padre ci saranno ancora sacerdoti nel futuro della Chiesa?” (Father, Will There Still Be Priests in the Future of the Church?) — a theme that underlies the entire text.
However, even more than the number of priests, the Church is interested in the truth of their experience. For reasons connected with my work as superior of a fraternity of missionaries, I travel throughout the world and am in contact with the most diverse realities. And, meeting with priests of different regions, I note that many of them experience difficulties not so much of an ideological type as of an emotional order.
Why is it that today the priestly life — which has made thousands of men happy and contributed enormously to the spiritual growth of humanity — is going through such a profound qualitative crisis?
My [Italian-language] book stems from this question. It is an attempt to rethink the life of a priest from its roots.

The regeneration of priestly life is one of the conditions for the new flowering of Christianity in Europe, and more generally, in our jaded West (Asia and Africa merit separate treatment).
I have attempted to trace the path for a rebirth returning to the fundamentals of the priesthood. I find one of those fundamentals in prayer.
Today many priests lose themselves in action, in the infinite number of activities and preoccupations that entrap them. For the action of each one of us to always be a source of nourishment, it must be constantly redirected to our relationship with Christ. And the place of our relationship with Christ is prayer, inseparable from silence.
Silence, prayer, reflection and study are the answer to one of the evils that afflict the figure of the priest: activism, which remains on the surface of things and absorbs the time of our energies and our feelings. Instead, action that stems from charity introduces us in the work of God, who precedes and exceeds us.

Another pillar of the renewal of priestly life is the liturgy. I say this following the teaching of the Pope. I am not ruled by the desire to accommodate myself to a current, but by a profound conviction that is born from experience.
If the priest does not rediscover the true meaning of the liturgy in his life, he cannot find himself.
Surmounting the process of trivialization, which we have witnesses in the last 30 years, it is necessary to return to that “fons et origo” that the Second Vatican Council identifies in the liturgy.
When it is faithful to the one who instituted it, when it is lived in all its rigorous totality and is attentive to the tradition of the Church, the liturgy is the place of education to communion.
The protagonist of the liturgy is Christ. By living the liturgy, we can enter into the life of God, and only thus can we priests be an effective company of men.
In the third place, the emotional question is central in the life of a priest. Loneliness is the other great evil that today afflicts thousands of priests.
Only by discovering himself a son can the priest be a father.

Friendship is a positive experience in a person’s emotional life. In the Church there is still much fear of friendship. Pathologies are not channeled if one is not helped to develop a healthy life.
Unhealthy and negative friendships, which because of this are not proper friendships, must not close us off from the essential value of these bonds of preference that open us to the love of others and help us to understand who God is.

Dwindling pastoral care for the sick

Interesting issues regarding the pastoral care of the sick viz. the numbers of priests available to be sacramentally present. USA Today a story that deserves some attention. Catholics are sacramental people: no priesthood, no sacraments…

On the same page as the story noted above is a video clip of Father Denis Robinson, OSB, Rector of Saint Meinrad Seminary talking about the up-tick of vocations.

Exchanging a baseball cap for a biretta: becoming a priest

Grant Desme.jpgMaking the rounds is the story that a top baseball player is following his true love, Jesus Christ by becoming a Catholic priest. Grant Desme, 23, is leaving the Oakland A’s for Saint Michael’s Abbey, a Norbertine community of priests and brothers in southern California. The community of Saint Michael’s is young, dynamic and they think with the Church…no surprise they’re getting vocations. Famous for their white habit and white biretta, the Canons Regular of Premontre were founded by Saint Norbert c. 1121.

Desme isn’t the only high profile athlete to enter the seminary in recent times, soccer player Chase Hilgenbrinck, left his sport to be a secular priest. He’s studying at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary.

Making good priests…the greatest achievement

To make good priests is the greatest achievement in
the world: it is impossible to conceive anything greater or more
important. To devote oneself to making good priests and to cooperate to
this end – is to fulfill the very task of Jesus Christ.

St Vincent de Paul

Pope reminds the Pontifical North American College (Rome) to remain faithful to its founding principals

PNAC Coat of Arms.jpg

As part of the 150th anniversary celebration of the Pontifical North American College, Pope Benedict XVI addressed a gathering of cardinals, bishops, priests, students and friends of the College on January 9, 2010. The PNAC was founded by Blessed Pius IX.

I am pleased to welcome the alumni of the Pontifical North
American College, together with the Rector, faculty and students of the
seminary on the Janiculum hill, and the student priests of the Casa Santa Maria
dell’Umiltà. Our meeting comes at the conclusion of the celebrations marking
the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the College’s establishment by my
predecessor, Blessed Pius IX. On this happy occasion I willingly join you in
thanking the Lord for the many ways in which the College has remained faithful
to its founding vision by training generations of worthy preachers of the
Gospel and ministers of the sacraments, devoted to the Successor of Peter and
committed to the building up of the Church in the United States of America.

is appropriate, in this Year for Priests, that you have returned to the College
and this Eternal City in order to give thanks for the academic and spiritual
formation which has nourished your priestly ministry over the years. The
present Reunion is an opportunity not only to remember with gratitude the time
of your studies, but also to reaffirm your filial affection for the Church of
Rome, to recall the apostolic labors of the countless alumni who have gone
before you, and to recommit yourselves to the high ideals of holiness, fidelity
and pastoral zeal which you embraced on the day of your ordination
. It is
likewise an occasion to renew your love for the College and your appreciation
of its distinctive mission to the Church in your country.

Bl Pius IX.jpg

During my Pastoral
Visit to the United States, I expressed my conviction that the Church in
is called to cultivate “an intellectual ‘culture’ which is
genuinely Catholic, confident in the profound harmony of faith and reason, and
prepared to bring the richness of faith’s vision to bear on the pressing issues
which affect the future of American society”
(Homily at Nationals Stadium,
Washington, 17 April 2008). As Blessed Pius IX rightly foresaw, the Pontifical
North American College in Rome is uniquely prepared to help meet this perennial
challenge. In the century and a half since its foundation, the College has
offered its students an exceptional experience of the universality of the
Church, the breadth of her intellectual and spiritual tradition, and the
urgency of her mandate to bring Christ’s saving truth to the men and women of
every time and place
. I am confident that, by emphasizing these hallmarks of a
Roman education in every aspect of its program of formation, the College will
continue to produce wise and generous pastors capable of transmitting the
Catholic faith in its integrity, bringing Christ’s infinite mercy to the weak
and the lost, and enabling America’s Catholics to be a leaven of the Gospel in
the social, political and cultural life of their nation.

PNAC courtyard.jpeg

Dear brothers, I pray
that in these days you will be renewed in the gift of the Holy Spirit which you
received on the day of your ordination. In the College chapel, dedicated to the
Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception, Our Lady is
portrayed in the company of four outstanding models and patrons of priestly
life and ministry: Saint Gregory the Great, Saint Pius X, Saint John Mary
Vianney and Saint Vincent de Paul
. During this Year for Priests, may these
great saints continue to watch over the students who daily pray in their midst;
may they guide and sustain your own ministry, and intercede for the priests of
the United States. With cordial good wishes for the spiritual fruitfulness of
the coming days, and with great affection in the Lord, I impart to you my
Apostolic Blessing, which I willingly extend to all the alumni and friends of
the Pontifical North American College.

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]yahoo.com.
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