When people want to destroy religion they begin by attacking the priest; for when there is no priest, there is no sacrifice: and when there is no sacrifice, there is no religion.
-St. John Vianney
During this difficult and challenging time in our Church it is more important than ever for us the lay members of the Mystical Body of Christ to pray and offer sacrifices for our good and holy priests who are hurting alongside us as more and more priestly scandals become public. They very much need our support and love as they continue to celebrate the sacraments and the fulfillment of their pastoral ministries.
Several years ago I began a small project within our regional parishes on Staten Island called “Spiritually Adopt - A - Catholic Priest: Currently Serving Staten Island,” where I shared on social media and via email a google document with a list of all of the names of the priests currently serving on Staten Island to friends in the surrounding parishes as well as on social media.
I called for each priest on the list to have at least one individual praying for them daily. Anyone who received the list was invited to select a priest and then place an “X” next to his name, so that I would know that the particular priest was spiritually adopted by someone. I was surprised to see that in such a short amount of time the majority of the priests had been spiritually adopted, and some even by multiple persons. It brought so much joy to my heart to know that our Staten Island priests were being prayed for daily.
Praying for priests is a special calling that is close to my heart, and I know that this charism is a wonderful grace given to me by God. It was not too long after starting this small project that I also started up a Vianney Cenacle sponsored by the Foundation of Prayer for Priests, founded by Kathleen Beckman, author of the book Praying for Priests: A Message for the New Evangelization.
I am encouraging all of our readers and subscribers to Missio Dei to consider beginning a “Spiritually Adopt - A - Catholic Priest: Currently Serving in _________.” You fill in the blank with your specific region or perhaps you feel called to reach an even larger area and would like to begin a project for your entire diocese. Be bold, and be courageous because our priests need us.
A priest once told us during a homily, “Priests very much need your prayers because a demon is hovering over every rectory,” and I truly believe the words he spoke that day. We have a responsibility as the laity to offer prayers and sacrifices for our priests because without our priests we have no Eucharist, and without the Eucharist we have no Church. The Eucharist is the “source and summit” of the Christian life and Christ is the center of our lives as Catholics. We cannot have Christ without the Church because the Bride and the Bridegroom are united as one.
Let us continue to pray for our faithful priests, and for more good and holy vocations to the priesthood.
Daily Prayer for Priests - St. Therese of Lisieux
O Jesus, Eternal Priest, keep Thy priests within the shelter of Thy Sacred Heart, where none may touch them. Keep unstained their anointed hands, which daily touch Thy Sacred Body. Keep unsullied their lips, daily purpled with Thy Precious Blood. Keep pure and unworldly their hearts, sealed with the sublime mark of the priesthood. Let Thy Holy Love surround 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.
Mary, Queen of the Clergy, pray for us: obtain for us numerous and holy priests. Amen.
Fantastic idea! Thank for this suggestion!
The Church first began at Pentecost; and then the Eucharist was celebrated on a regular basis after that. The people’s first receiving of Christ was by receiving His Spirit. Christ’s Spirit within us is the means by which sanctifying grace flows into us and by which we are empowered as Catholics. This order has not changed. Baptism is the first of the sacraments because of this.