This Sunday in the United States we celebrate Priesthood Sunday. It is a special day set aside to honor the priesthood and is traditionally celebrated on the last Sunday in September. The day is coordinated by the USA Council of Serra International. It is a day to reflect upon and affirm the role of the priesthood in the life of the Church as we strive to raise vocation awareness in a special way.
In a recent address, as reported by the media outlet, Catholic News Service, Pope Francis stated the priest should embrace a “style of closeness, a style of compassion, a style of tenderness.” Our Holy Father noted that priests must be close to God in prayer, close to their bishop, close to one another, and close to their people.
The following “Prayer for Priests” from St. Therese of the Child Jesus, asks Our Lord to continue to guide and protect all priests in the midst of the trials and temptations of this world.
O Jesus, Eternal Priest, keep Your priests within the shelter of Your Most Sacred Heart, where none can touch them.
Keep unstained their anointed hands, which daily touch Your Sacred Body.
Keep unsullied their lips daily tinged with Your Precious blood.
Keep pure and unworldly their hearts, sealed with the sublime mark of the priesthood.
Let Your Holy Love surround and protect them from the world’s contagion.
Bless their labors with abundant fruit, and may the souls to whom they minister be their joy and consolation here, and their everlasting crown in the hereafter. Amen.
As we reflect on this prayer, as previously noted, we are reminded that Jesus has called His priests to serve not to be served. He said in John 12:26, “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.” As priests, we are challenged to go forth with a renewed appreciation for Jesus and His ministry. We are called to be truly willing to serve Our Lord, the Church, and its people. As we celebrate this day, I am reminded that it is a great privilege and responsibility to be a priest, and I thank God each day for the gift of my vocation.
As a faith community, we are encouraged to pray for holy, happy, and healthy priests to serve the Church of tomorrow. On behalf of Fr. Darragh and Fr. Bill, and all the priests who assist us in some way at Saint Brigid, I thank you for your continued prayers and support.