Thursday, 20 November 2014

Catechism on the Priesthood by St. John Vianney

St. John Vianney - Catechism on the Priesthood  (1786-1859)

My children, we have come to the Sacrament of Orders. It is a Sacrament which seems to relate to no one among you, and which yet relates to everyone. This Sacrament raises man up to God. What is a priest! A man who holds the place of God -- a man who is invested with all the powers of God. "Go, " said Our Lord to the priest; "as My Father sent Me, I send you. All power has been given Me in Heaven and on earth. Go then, teach all nations. . . . He who listens to you, listens to Me; he who despises you despises Me. " When the priest remits sins, he does not say, "God pardons you"; he says, "I absolve you. " At the Consecration, he does not say, "This is the Body of Our Lord;" he says, "This is My Body. " 

Saint Bernard tells us that everything has come to us through Mary; and we may also say that everything has come to us through the priest; yes, all happiness, all graces, all heavenly gifts. If we had not the Sacrament of Orders, we should not have Our Lord. Who placed Him there, in that tabernacle? It was the priest. Who was it that received your soul, on its entrance into life? The priest. Who nourishes it, to give it strength to make its pilgrimage? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, by washing that soul, for the last time, in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest -- always the priest. And if that soul comes to the point of death, who will raise it up, who will restore it to calmness and peace? Again the priest. You cannot recall one single blessing from God without finding, side by side with this recollection, the image of the priest

Go to confession to the Blessed Virgin, or to an angel; will they absolve you? No. Will they give you the Body and Blood of Our Lord? No. The Holy Virgin cannot make her Divine Son descend into the Host. You might have two hundred angels there, but they could not absolve you. A priest, however simple he may be, can do it; he can say to you, "Go in peace; I pardon you. " Oh, how great is a priest! The priest will not understand the greatness of his office till he is in Heaven. If he understood it on earth, he would die, not of fear, but of love. The other benefits of God would be of no avail to us without the priest. What would be the use of a house full of gold, if you had nobody to open you the door! The priest has the key of the heavenly treasures; it is he who opens the door; he is the steward of the good God, the distributor of His wealth. Without the priest, the Death and Passion of Our Lord would be of no avail. Look at the heathens: what has it availed them that Our Lord has died? Alas! they can have no share in the blessings of Redemption, while they have no priests to apply His Blood to their souls!

The priest is not a priest for himself; he does not give himself absolution; he does not administer the Sacraments to himself. He is not for himself, he is for you. After God, the priest is everything. Leave a parish twenty years without priests; they will worship beasts. If the missionary Father and I were to go away, you would say, "What can we do in this church? there is no Mass; Our Lord is no longer there: we may as well pray at home. " When people wish to destroy religion, they begin by attacking the priest, because where there is no longer any priest there is no sacrifice, and where there is no longer any sacrifice there is no religion.

When the bell calls you to church, if you were asked, "Where are you going?" you might answer, "I am going to feed my soul. " If someone were to ask you, pointing to the tabernacle, "What is that golden door?" "That is our storehouse, where the true Food of our souls is kept. " "Who has the key? Who lays in the provisions? Who makes ready the feast, and who serves the table?" "The priest. " "And what is the Food?" "The precious Body and Blood of Our Lord. " O God! O God! how Thou hast loved us! See the power of the priest; out of a piece of bread the word of a priest makes a God. It is more than creating the world. . . . Someone said, "Does St. Philomena, then, obey the Cure of Ars?" Indeed, she may well obey him, since God obeys him. 

If I were to meet a priest and an angel, I should salute the priest before I saluted the angel. The latter is the friend of God; but the priest holds His place. St. Teresa kissed the ground where a priest had passed. When you see a priest, you should say, "There is he who made me a child of God, and opened Heaven to me by holy Baptism; he who purified me after I had sinned; who gives nourishment to my soul. " At the sight of a church tower, you may say, "What is there in that place?" "The Body of Our Lord. " "Why is He there?" "Because a priest has been there, and has said holy Mass. " 

What joy did the Apostles feel after the Resurrection of Our Lord, at seeing the Master whom they had loved so much! The priest must feel the same joy, at seeing Our Lord whom he holds in his hands. Great value is attached to objects which have been laid in the drinking cup of the Blessed Virgin and of the Child Jesus, at Loretto. But the fingers of the priest, that have touched the adorable Flesh of Jesus Christ, that have been plunged into the chalice which contained His Blood, into the pyx where His Body has lain, are they not still more precious? The priesthood is the love of the Heart of Jesus. When you see the priest, think of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Called to the Collar

Link to Video above:  Youtube - This Is Life With Lisa Ling | Season 1 Episode 8 - “Called to the Collar”

Lisa Ling follows Fathers Gary and Todd as they minister to their new parishes. Tune in on Sunday night at 10 pm to see them celebrate Mass, baptize new members, visit the area hospital to anoint a woman suffering from liver disease as she awaits a transplant, reflect on loneliness (Fr. Gary: "A wise priest once told me: When you feel the loneliness, don't run away from it, turn it over to Jesus and see what he does."), and look back on hearing their first confessions, answering whether it's difficult to be nonjudgmental.

Those you will meet in "Called to the Collar:"

Meet the twins' parents, Agnes and Brian Koenigsknecht, who speak of their support for their sons' calling and quickly dismiss the question about not having grandchildren by explaining that "not everyone is called to marriage." It's good to note that the Koenigsknechts actually have ten children.

Agnes belongs to a support group for the mothers of seminarians. You will meet these women who explain that unless you have a son in the seminary you can't understand the challenges faced by both the sons and their families... Learn how they react to people who regularly remind them that they won't be grandmothers, and to those who are negative about the notion of priesthood as a vocation, as these proud Moms discuss the critical  need to pray for their sons as they journey through the seminary years.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Priests Promoting Priestly Vocations - Bishop Denis Nulty speaks..

Bishop Denis Nulty. Photo: Courtesy iCatholic“If we as priests don’t encourage this culture of discernment, the young men who want to become priests .. will slip through the cracks.”

Priests need to reclaim their voice again in encouraging vocations Bishop Denis Nulty has said as he emphasised that the most important group who can promote vocations are priests themselves.
Speaking on the topic ‘Priests Promoting Priestly Vocations’ at the recent Lismullin Priests Seminar, the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin told the assembled clergy, “We priests have a special responsibility to promote vocations.”

Referring to the fact that every diocese is obliged to have a diocesan vocations director, the Bishop said that he had given a very clear brief to his recently appointed director to resource and support the priests of the diocese in their work as vocations directors.

He underlined that the work of encouraging vocations mustn’t be left at the door of the vocations director in the diocese.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

The Friars and Skateboarding....

Letter to Consecrated Men and Women

A letter to consecrated men and women

A message from the teachings of Pope Francis

1. “The joy of the Gospel fills the heart and lives of all who encounter Jesus. With Jesus Christ joy is constantly born anew.”(1)

The beginning of Evangelii Gaudium, within the fabric of the teaching of Pope Francis, rings out with surprising vitality, proclaiming the wonderful mystery of the Good News that transforms the life of the person who takes it to heart. We are told the parable of joy: our meeting with Jesus lights up in us its original beauty, the beauty of the face on which the Father’s glory shines (cf. 2Cor 4:6), radiating happiness.

This Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life invites us to reflect on the graced time we have been given to live, at the special invitation that the Pope addresses to those in consecrated life.

To accept this teaching means to renew our existence in accordance with the Gospel, not in a radical way understood as a model of perfection and often of separation, but by adhering wholeheartedly to the saving encounter that transforms our life. “It is a question of leaving everything to follow the Lord. No, I do not want to say ‘radical’. Evangelical radicalness is not only for religious: it is demanded of all. But religious follow the Lord in a special way, in a prophetic way. It is this witness that I expect of you. Religious should be men and women able to wake the world up.”(2)

In their finite humanity, on the margins, in their everyday struggles, consecrated men and women live out their fidelity, giving a reason for the joy that lives in them. So they become splendid witnesses, effective proclaimers, companions and neighbours for the women and men with whom they share a common history and who want to find their Father’s house in the Church.(3) Francis of Assisi, who took the Gospel as his way of life “made faith grow and he renewed the Church, and at the same time he renewed society, he made it more fraternal, but he always did it with the Gospel and by his witness. Always preach the Gospel and if necessary use words!”(4)

Numerous suggestions come to us from listening to the words of the Pope, but we are particularly challenged by the absolute simplicity with which Pope Francis offers his teaching, in tune with the appealing sincerity of the Gospel. Plain words sown from the open arms of the good sower, who trustingly does not discriminate between one sort of soil and another.

An authoritative invitation is offered to us with gentle trust, an invitation to do away with institutional arguments and personal justifications. It is a provocative word that questions our sometimes apathetic or sleepy way of life, as we often live on the margins of the challenge: if you had faith as big as this mustard seed (Lk 17:5). It is an invitation that encourages us to impel our spirits to acknowledge the Word living among us, the Spirit who creates and continues to renew the Church.

This Letter is motivated by this invitation, in the hope of initiating a shared reflection. It is offered as a simple tool for examining our lives honestly in the light of the Gospel. This Dicastery therefore presents a shared itinerary, a space for personal, communal and institutional reflection as we journey towards 2015, the year the Church has dedicated to consecrated life, with the desire and the intention of making courageous evangelical decisions leading to revitalization, bearing fruits of joy. “The primacy of God gives full meaning and joy to human lives, because men and women are made for God, and their hearts are restless until they rest in him.”(5)

Full Letter here: 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Year of Consecrated life begins 30th November

The Vatican has begun to announce plans for celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life, which begins in November 2014. 

Three-pronged focus
•   renewal for men and women in consecrated life,
•   thanksgiving among the faithful for the service of sisters, brothers, priests, and nuns,
•   invitation to young Catholics to consider a religious vocation.

Tentative schedule

Nov. 29, 2014: Opening Prayer Vigil
Nov. 30, 2014: Opening Mass with Pope Francis
Jan. 22-24, 2015: Meeting of Catholic consecrated men and women and consecrated religious from other Christian traditions (to be held during the week of Christian unity)

Second week of April, 2015: Conference on religious formation around the world

Sept. 23-26, 2015: Event for young men and women in discernment and in the process of joining religious orders

Dec. 18-21, 2015: Separate meetings for members of monastic orders and of secular institutes.

Jan. 28 - Feb. 1, 2016: Theological symposium on religious life

Feb. 2, 2016: Closing Mass with Pope Francis on World Day of Consecrated Life

Click here for more information about available resources for the Year of Consecrate Life.

There are many more events held in Dioceses throughout the World for this special Year. This is a Year to encourage Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life.  We must do all we can to encourage and assist Christ in His Work of Redemption of Souls and Pray for all those who have already given their lives to Him in this work and for those who will do so in the future as Priests and Religious.