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 in September or October. 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 Agency”, Pope Francis spoke to a group of priests in Rome and stated that “the spiritual life becomes liberating and joyful” when priests “leave the initiative to the Holy Spirit, and in openness to His plans,” show their “willingness to serve wherever and however” they are asked.
The faithful are invited by our bishops, and by Serra International, 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. Our bishops also encourage the faithful to pray for vocations to the diaconate, religious life, the married state, and single life, since we are all called to a life of holiness.
Jesus has challenged His priests to be His servants and to serve the least of His people. Priests are encouraged to go forth with a true appreciation for Jesus and His ministry. They are challenged to shepherd the people entrusted to their care and to be humble disciples truly willing to serve the Church and its mission.
The following “Prayer for Priests” from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops asks God to guide and support our priests.
Gracious and loving God, we thank You for the gift of our priests. Through them, we experience Your presence in the sacraments.
Help our priests to be strong in their vocation. Set their souls on fire with love for Your people.
Grant them the wisdom, understanding, and strength they need to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Inspire them with the vision of Your Kingdom.
Give them the words they need to spread the Gospel. Allow them to experience joy in their ministry.
Help them to become instruments of Your divine grace.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns as our Eternal Priest.
As we reflect on this prayer, and as we celebrate Priesthood Sunday, Fr. Darragh, Fr. Bill, and I appreciate the privilege and opportunity to celebrate Mass and to minister the sacraments to the people of Saint Brigid. We thank you for your continued support and prayers.