This Sunday we celebrate Priesthood Sunday, a special day set aside to reflect upon and affirm the role of the priesthood in the life of the Church. It is traditionally celebrated on the last Sunday in September and is coordinated by the USA Council of Serra International to show their appreciation for the many priests who continue to faithfully serve the Church. On this day we are reminded in a special way that the priest is the instrument of Christ’s ministry on earth. It has been often said that without the priest there is no Eucharist. Without the Eucharist, there is no Church.
In a recent address, as reported by the media outlet “Catholic News Service”, Pope Francis called on priests to be true shepherds, “Shepherds of the holy, faithful people of God. Shepherds who go with the people of God – sometimes ahead of the flock, sometimes in the midst of it or behind it, but always there with the people of God.”
The following “Prayer for Priests” by Mother Teresa, now Saint Teresa of Calcutta, asks the Blessed Virgin Mary to guide and protect our priests:
Mary, Mother of Jesus, throw your mantle of purity over our priests. Protect them, guide them, and keep them in your heart. Be a Mother to them, especially in times of discouragement and loneliness. Love them and keep them belonging completely to Jesus. Like Jesus, they, too, are your sons, so keep their hearts pure and virginal. Keep their minds filled with Jesus, and Jesus always on their lips, so that he is the one they offer to sinners and to all they meet.
Mary, Mother of Jesus, be their Mother, loving them and bringing them joy. Take special care of sick and dying lives serving and giving all to Jesus. Mary, bless them and keep a special place for them in your heart. Give them a piece of your heart, so beautiful and pure and immaculate, so full of love and humility, so that they, too, can grow in the likeness of Christ. Dear Mary, make them humble like you, and holy like Jesus. Amen.
As we reflect on this prayer, we are invited by our bishops, the Serrans, the Knights of Columbus, and other Catholic organizations to foster a greater awareness of vocations. We are encouraged to pray for future holy, happy, and healthy priests needed to serve the Church of tomorrow.
As we celebrate Priesthood Sunday, we as priests are reminded that it is a great privilege to celebrate the Mass, and to minister the sacraments to the people of God. Fr. Darragh, Fr. Bill, and I appreciate the opportunity to serve the people of Saint Brigid and thank you for your continued support and prayers.