Tag Archives: Priesthood

A few addenda to yesterday’s Potpourri post

Bl. Teresa of Calcutta and Bl. John Paul II (photo credit: Gianni Giansanti/Corbis)

Two of my heroes: Bl. Teresa of Calcutta and Bl. John Paul II (photo credit: Gianni Giansanti/Corbis)

I posted yesterday about the world needing heroes, and wouldn’t you know, four more links came my way this morning that fit that theme so well, I just had to share them:

First, this sweet post about fatherhood from Catholic blogger Matthew Archbold: Some Things Moms Can’t Do. For me, this is one of the simplest answers to the question: Why no women priests? Priests are men because they are fathers, and only men can be fathers. (Of course, that answer doesn’t satisfy people who no longer recognize authentic fatherhood…)

Speaking of fatherhood, I’ve been meaning to recommend my friend Fr. Jeff’s new blog about his day-to-day experiences as a joyful young priest determined to find God in the “little things”: A Priest Life. (Here’s one of my favorite posts of his.) Fr. Jeff is a fantastic writer and more importantly, a wonderful priest who deeply loves Our Lord and His Church. His reflections inspire me to live my own vocation with greater dedication every day! You should also check out his recent interview with CatholicMom.com’s Lisa Hendey. I just loved what he had to say about his vocation story:

“I’m a ‘kindergarten vocation,’ so to speak. One of my earliest memories is wanting to be a priest. Well, that and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. In my baby book, my mom kept little facts about us: favorite food – pizza; favorite color – blue; favorite sport – soccer; what [Jeff] wants to be when he grows up – priest. That desire never left.”

I feel like I know more than a few priests who wanted to be Ninja Turtles or superheroes when they grew up. The world needs heroes, right?

And while we’re on the topic of priesthood, I also wanted to point out another article about the chaplain on the sinking Costa Concordia cruise ship. There are heroes among us, but we don’t always hear about them in the mainstream media.

For example, I’ve been meaning to “introduce” you guys to one of my personal heroes (well, heroines): my high-school classmate Megan, who moved to Haiti last year to work full-time in a non-denominational missionary apostolate called Respire Haiti (which she founded). Her blog, Blessed with a Burden, continually calls me to be more authentically committed to loving Christ in His poor.

I continue to be inspired daily by the people in my life who live out their vocations with such humility, passion and joy: my married friends, who are such beautiful examples of the Father’s totally selfless love for His children; my friends in formation for priesthood and religious life, who have gone out of their way to support and encourage me with their kind words and prayers; my single friends, who help me to be authentic as they ask the tough questions and work out their own vocations (sometimes with more than a little fear and trembling). Most of all, I’m thankful for my parents and my little brothers and the priests who have taken it upon themselves to “father” my soul and my vocation. How very good our good Lord is to those who love Him, whom He calls to do His will (c.f. Romans 8:28).

Who are your heroes? Who in your life has inspired you to pursue your vocation and live it to the full?

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Potpourri: The world needs heroes!

Inspired by my incredibly creative friend Maggie and her beloved “Clippings” posts over at Ten Thousand Places, I thought I’d try out a similar series of posts on this blog. Each Potpourri post will consist of a list of miscellaneous links, photos, videos, quotes, and/or other tidbits I came across during the week that I thought might interest you all. Let me know what you think!


March for Life 2011

March for Life 2011: Mary marching toward the Capitol.

First things first: everyone ought to pray in a special way this weekend for all those who will be standing up for LIFE at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., as well as at local marches around the country. (For readers outside the U.S., January 22 is the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States in 1973. Current estimates say that hundreds of thousands of pro-life marchers take to the streets of our capital each year to be witnesses for LIFE.) The world needs heroes who will be a voice for the voiceless!

Speaking of heroes, I was inspired and touched by two articles that came in one of my “Daily Dispatches” from Zenit this week: one about persecuted clergy being unjustly detained by the Chinese government, and another about the ministry of maritime chaplains in Italy following the Costa Concordia cruise ship tragedy. The life of the priest is, by nature, a heroic life – not because it wins the priest acclaim and earthly glory (quite the contrary, actually). No, the life of the priest is heroic because of what it requires: a total death to self for his beloved, the Church.

Of course, all of the faithful are called to be heroic in their own way. I have always taken great delight in the Church teaching which affirms that heroic sanctity can be achieved in every state of life, in every situation, in every vocation (cf. Lumen Gentium 39). Catholic blogger Simcha Fisher has posted a beautifully-written reflection on the sufferings and joys of being a mother of many (nine!) children: To the Mother With Only One Child.

And now for the most pressing issue of the day: by now I’m sure you’ve all heard (at least, readers residing in the U.S. will have heard) about the deeply disturbing statement put forth by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) yesterday. You can find a few worthwhile Catholic commentaries about this serious (albeit not unforeseen) threat to religious liberty here, here and here. While I am indeed disturbed by this turn of events, I take great comfort in two things.

First, Church leadership is on alert and fully aware of the gravity of the situation. Just days ago (incidentally, the day before HHS published their statement) Pope Benedict addressed a group of bishops from the United States with these words:

“The Church’s witness, then, is of its nature public: she seeks to convince by proposing rational arguments in the public square. The legitimate separation of Church and State cannot be taken to mean that the Church must be silent on certain issues, nor that the State may choose not to engage, or be engaged by, the voices of committed believers in determining the values which will shape the future of the nation.

“In the light of these considerations, it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres. The seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life.”

(You can read the Holy Father’s entire address on Zenit.org.) Cardinal-elect Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is also taking a public stand against this outrage. Check it out:

According to this article from the National Catholic Reporter (HT to American Papist), President Obama had the audacity to call Archbp. Dolan to “tell him the news” when the HHS statement went out:

“NCR has learned that the President called Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, this morning to tell him the news. Wouldn’t you have liked to be on an extension to listen in on that conversation. The president looked Dolan in the eye in November and said he would be pleased with his decision [regarding conscience protection legislation]. I am guessing that Dolan is not pleased.”

Well, if that isn’t the understatement of the century! (NB: I do not look to the National Catholic Reporter for authentically Catholic news and commentary – though I did find the aforementioned article helpful. You’d be better off getting your Catholic news from the National Catholic Register.)

I also find a great deal of consolation (as I always do) in remembering that no matter what happens in our country and in our world, we always have Our Lord and our Blessed Mother, we always have the Church, we always have the Communion of Saints. The world needs heroes – and thank goodness, we have them: we have the saints!

On that note, I wanted to share this fantastic quote by St. Augustine (HT to Ten Thousand Places and Happy Catholic). Let it be a reminder to us all, especially as we enter into the thick of what my be the United States’ most divisive, most frightening, most crucial election season yet:

Saint Augustine - Botticelli (detail)

Botticelli, St. Augustine (detail)

“Bad times, hard times – this what people keep saying; but let us live well, and times shall be good. We are the times. Such as we are, such are the times.”

– St. Augustine of Hippo

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Be a Man: Discern the Priesthood!

Too funny not to re-post. (It’s been circulating on Facebook for the last week or so.) Young men in the Priestly Discernment Program at Franciscan University of Steubenville take “Catholic nerdiness” to a whole new level…

The priesthood is for real men, and don’t you forget it!

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Potpourri: I love the Pope, Dominican Vocations, Happy Priests!

Inspired by my incredibly creative friend Maggie and her beloved “Clippings” posts over at Ten Thousand Places, I thought I’d try out a similar series of posts on this blog. Each Potpourri post will consist of a list of miscellaneous links, photos, videos, quotes, and/or other tidbits I came across during the week that I thought might interest you all. Let me know what you think!

  • I just now got around to reading the Holy Father’s address to young women religious at World Youth Day in Madrid. LOVE this quote (emphases mine):

“Gospel radicalism means being ‘rooted and built up in Christ, and firm in the faith’ (cf. Col 2:7). In the consecrated life, this means going to the very root of the love of Jesus Christ with an undivided heart, putting nothing ahead of this love (cf. St. Benedict, Rule, IV, 21) and being completely devoted to Him, the Bridegroom, as were the saints… Your lives must testify to the personal encounter with Christ which has nourished your consecration, and to all the transforming power of that encounter. … In a world of relativism and mediocrity, we need that radicalism to which your consecration, as a way of belonging to the God who is loved above all things, bears witness.”

– Pope Benedict XVI, Meeting with Young Religious, 19 August 2011
Nuns at World Youth Day in Madrid

There were LOTS of young nuns at World Youth Day in Madrid!

  • More good news from the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville, TN: 1 sister recently made final vows, 15 novices made first vows in July, 24 received the holy habit and began their novitiate (including a friend from my hometown, now Sr. Malia Grace!), and 16 new postulants entered in August. Deo gratias!
  • A spunky young blogger reflects on the journey that led her to enter the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, MI: “Why I’m Joining the Habit-Wearing, Rock Star Sisters” (Ha!) And just for the record, this is yet another proof that in the Young Catholic Church, “six degrees of separation” do not apply; it’s always more like one or two degrees. Exhibit A: Meris has just entered the same convent where a dear, dear friend of mine from college (Sr. Mary Martha!) just began her novitiate. Exhibit B: Meris’ high school friend, Brother James Claver, was a missionary with me in Honduras back in 2008. In both cases, it’s just one degree! Crazy!
  • Meris’ friend Carolina, who also entered the Sisters of Mary this fall, has shared a beautiful “glory story” on her blog about the generous donors who paid off her student loan debt so she could enter the convent. Praise God!
  • Clergy are ranked #1 on a list of the “Ten Happiest Jobs,” based on a survey conducted by the National Organization for Research at the University of Chicago. I always love to hear the clergy that I know describe their job as “being a happy priest!”
Happy Seminarians

Happy Seminarians. I have no idea who took this photo, but I just love it!

That’s all for now. Look for another I’m-so-excited-about-vocations! linkfest next week!

Charity

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More Signs of a Vocations Boom: Seminaries Filling Up Again (Finally!)

I know we can’t really say yet that the “vocations crisis” is over, but I can’t help but hope when I read this sort of news:

This fall the seminary serving the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is welcoming the largest class of seminarians it’s seen since 1980. These glad tidings even made the local news! (HT to American Papist) You can find out more about all the great things happening in the Archdiocese on their vocations Web site: 10000vocations.org. Good stuff!

The Archdiocese of New Orleans is also cautiously optimistic about their “bumper crop” of seminarians, the largest group they’ve had studying at one time in over 25 years!

Encouraging news, right? Well, I have another little tidbit of my own to add… A friend recently informed me that the local seminary college had such a large class of freshmen this year that they didn’t have dorms to house them all. Their solution? Senior seminarians will spend their last year of Philosophy studies living in part of the monastery with the Benedictine monks who run the seminary, thus freeing up enough dorms to house the freshmen. Good news, indeed!

Mary, Mother of Vocations, pray for these young men who long to offer their lives to Your Son!

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In Memoriam: No one has greater love than this…

Photo by Shannon Stapleton (REUTERS). Rescue workers carry the body of Rev. Mychal Judge, OFM, from one of the World Trade Center towers on September 1, 2001.

Fr. Mychal Judge, OFM was the chaplain to the New York City Fire Department and the first certified fatality in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

For the sake of Your sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Our Lady Queen of Peace, pray for peace in our world!

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Novena for the Pope and for Priests: Day 9

The Congregation for the Clergy is encouraging Catholics to participate in prayer vigils for Pope Benedict XVI in honor of his 60th anniversary of ordination, which he celebrated on Wednesday. The faithful are being asked to pray not only for the Holy Father, but for all of the clergy and the entire Church. Last Thursday, I began posting a “novena” of my favorite prayers for priests – a different prayer each day. Please join me in praying for the pope and for all priests.


Another prayer for priests by St. Thérèse of Lisieux. I especially like this one because it allows me to repay some very small part of the tremendous debt I owe to the priests in my life, particularly those special few who have walked with me throughout my discernment. They have been true fathers to me – tough when I needed someone to challenge me, tender when I was suffering, firm when I needed counsel, and compassionate to me when I was struggling. Most of all, they’ve shown me the love of God the Father, and for that, I will never stop thanking God for them.

Stephen Golder, "I Am With You Always" (www.thesehandsbmj.com)

Stephen Golder, "I Am With You Always," from his collection These Hands Bring Me Jesus (www.thesehandsbmj.com)

St. Therese’s Prayer for All Priests

O Jesus, I pray for Your faithful and fervent priests; for Your unfaithful and tepid priests; for Your priests laboring at home or abroad in distant mission fields; for Your tempted priests; for Your lonely and desolate priests; for Your young priests; for Your dying priests; for the souls of Your priests in purgatory.

But above all I recommend to You the priests dearest to me: the priest who baptized me, the priests who absolve me from my sins, the priests at whose Masses I have assisted and who gave me Your Body and Blood in Holy Communion; the priests who have taught and instructed me; and all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way. Jesus, keep them all close to Your heart, and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen.

Lord, give us priests! Give us holy priests! Give us many holy priests!

Mary, Mother of Vocations, pray for us!

St. Joseph, Guardian of Vocations, pray for us!

All you angels and saints of God, pray for us!

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Novena for the Pope and for Priests: Day 8

The Congregation for the Clergy is encouraging Catholics to participate in prayer vigils for Pope Benedict XVI in honor of his 60th anniversary of ordination, which he celebrated yesterday. The faithful are being asked to pray not only for the Holy Father, but for all of the clergy and the entire Church. Last Thursday, I began posting a “novena” of my favorite prayers for priests – a different prayer each day. Please join me in praying for the pope and for all priests.


This is only one of several prayers for priests written by St. Thérèse of Lisieux, whose fervent love for the priesthood made her a powerful intercessor for priests.

St. Thérèse’s Prayer for Priests

St. Therese of LisieuxO Jesus, Eternal Priest, keep your priests within the shelter of Your Sacred Heart, where none may touch them. Keep unstained their anointed hands, which daily touch Your Sacred Body. Keep unsullied their lips, daily purpled with Your Precious Blood. Keep pure and unearthly their hearts, sealed with the sublime mark of the priesthood. Let Your holy love surround them and shield 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 in heaven their beautiful and everlasting crown. Amen.

Lord, give us priests! Give us holy priests! Give us many holy priests!

Mary, Mother of Vocations, pray for us!

St. Joseph, Guardian of Vocations, pray for us!

All you angels and saints of God, pray for us!

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Novena for the Pope and for Priests: Day 7

The Congregation for the Clergy is encouraging Catholics to participate in prayer vigils for Pope Benedict XVI in honor of his 60th anniversary of ordination, which he celebrates today. The faithful are being asked to pray not only for the Holy Father, but for all of the clergy and the entire Church. Last Thursday, I began posting a “novena” of my favorite prayers for priests – a different prayer each day. Please join me in praying for the pope and for all priests.


This prayer was written by the late Richard James Cardinal Cushing, Archbishop of Boston.

Prayer for the Spiritual Protection and Perseverance of Priests

O Almighty and Eternal God, look upon the Face of Your Son and for love of Him, who is the Eternal  High Priest, have pity on your priests. Remember, O most compassionate God, that they are but weak and frail human beings. Stir up in them the grace of their vocation which is in them by the imposition of the bishop’s hands. Keep them close to You, lest the enemy prevail against them, so that they may never do anything in the slightest degree unworthy of their sublime vocation. Amen.

Christ the High Priest icon

Christ the Great High Priest, written for the Year of the Priest by M. Czarnecki

Lord, give us priests! Give us holy priests! Give us many holy priests!

Mary, Mother of Vocations, pray for us!

St. Joseph, Guardian of Vocations, pray for us!

All you angels and saints of God, pray for us!

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Novena for the Pope and for Priests: Day 6

The Congregation for the Clergy is encouraging Catholics to participate in prayer vigils for Pope Benedict XVI in honor of his 60th anniversary of ordination, which he will celebrate tomorrow. The faithful are being asked to pray not only for the Holy Father, but for all of the clergy and the entire Church. Last Thursday, I began posting a “novena” of my favorite prayers for priests – a different prayer each day. Please join me in praying for the pope and for all priests.


The more I pray for priests, the more I find myself moved to pray especially for those priests who have left the priesthood, those whose souls are in danger, and those who are tempted to abandon their vocation.

Prayer for Priests in Times of Uncertainty

D. Velázquez, Christ on the Cross, 1632

D. Velázquez, Christ on the Cross, 1632

Lord Jesus Christ,
as you gazed down from the Cross in Your bitter agony
upon the beloved and faithful Apostle, Saint John,
Your anguish was increased
by the desertion of the traitor and the other Apostles.
In spite of this desertion, Your love embraced them
and all those consecrated men who would forsake You.
We, therefore confidently beseech You now
to rain abundant grace on shepherds who have gone astray.
Where there is present groping uncertainty, let there be light;
where there is present overshadowing gloom, let there be joy;
where there is present mounting struggle, let there be peace.
Guide, O Lord, the straying shepherds back to the fold,
and assist them to walk surely and lovingly in Your sight,
for only in union with You
will the shepherd find true light, joy and peace.
Give to all priests inspiration in time of doubt,
patience in time of adversity,
fortitude in time of weakness,
that with Your love ever pressing them on,
they may lead others ever closer to You. Amen.

Lord, give us priests! Give us holy priests! Give us many holy priests!

Mary, Mother of Vocations, pray for us!

St. Joseph, Guardian of Vocations, pray for us!

All you angels and saints of God, pray for us!

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