He died 40 hours after his ordination, just after celebrating Holy Mass.
Tag Archives: Vocations
Two seminarians whom I taught and advised — good friends — at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, will be ordained today to the transitional diaconate at 7:00 PM. (May 3, 2013). Prayers for them, please! Hail Mary…
ANONYMOUS has scheduled a protest to “occupy” Cathedral Square in downtown Columbus during this time. Cowards. They hide behind masks and computer screens.
ANONYMOUS say they are protesting the firing for breach of contract of a recently self-identified homosexualist from a Catholic school, but, in all reality, they are capitalizing on the ordination of two seminarians so as to make their point that they are going to fight the Catholic Church as such. And to start their onslaught, they are attacking two individuals, my friends, who have absolutely nothing to do with any of this. This means that ANONYMOUS is a group of absolute total cowards.
Some wise direction that was sent out to all involved:
We have been made aware of a potential protest for the Diaconate Ordination this evening. The group Anonymous [...asked...] for people who support “gay marriage” to “occupy” Cathedral Square starting at 4 pm. [...] As you may well be aware, these protests sometimes turn violent. The protesters are simply out to cause a scene and to cause emotional damage to the Catholic community as a whole. Their goal will be to engage anyone who is willing, and then to quickly bring about shame or harm. I cannot emphasize this enough, please do not engage the protesters in any way. It is what they want, and no matter how much you wish to evangelize or defend the Church they are not willing to participate in a fruitful discussion of any kind. When you pass by them, if you feel compelled to say anything, it should be no more than “hello” or “good afternoon.” But even this will invite unwanted responses from them.
Yes, well. That’s a bit naive as well. I mean, these kind of professional protesters can send in those who look like they want to support the Ordination Mass, getting escorted into the Cathedral, but then, just before going inside, purposely engage ANONYMOUS, even violently, so that ANONYMOUS looks to be the victim.
ANONYMOUS made use of a terroristic threat in the event that the Diocese of Columbus does not cave into the request of ANONYMOUS to run the Catholic Church and trash its doctrines and morals. Making a terroristic threat is a felony of the third degree in the State of Ohio:
2909.23 Making terroristic threat.
(A) No person shall threaten to commit or threaten to cause to be committed a specified offense when both of the following apply:
(1) The person makes the threat with purpose to do any of the following:
(a) Intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(b) Influence the policy of any government by intimidation or coercion;
(c) Affect the conduct of any government by the threat or by the specified offense.
(2) As a result of the threat, the person causes a reasonable expectation or fear of the imminent commission of the specified offense.
(B) It is not a defense to a charge of a violation of this section that the defendant did not have the intent or capability to commit the threatened specified offense or that the threat was not made to a person who was a subject of the threatened specified offense.
(C) Whoever violates this section is guilty of making a terroristic threat, a felony of the third degree. Section 2909.25 of the Revised Code applies regarding an offender who is convicted of or pleads guilty to a violation of this section.
Effective Date: 05-15-2002
Those who associate with ANONYMOUS in the present protest may be liable for felony proceedings. Penalties run from nine months to three years. I think everyone in a mask or otherwise causing trouble should be arrested forthwith if they anywhere near the Cathedral. The Super-Max Department of Corrections facility just to the West of Columbus could surely hold them all.
I would also say to the homosexualist one-time teacher who was fired: If you don’t immediately repudiate the terroristic threats of ANONYMOUS, who make it seem that they are speaking on your behalf, well then, that would make it seem that you yourself are the one who has brought them in on this situation. If you are associated with this, I mean, how dare you threaten my friends? I’m personally offended. And this is the way that you want to get reinstated as a Catholic teacher? Anonymous thinks it is the way for sure. Think about it. ANONYMOUS hates you, and is stomping on you in every way. You’re being used and abused by ANONYMOUS.
While analyzing the diatribe of ANONYMOUS, I note that there was an indication that ANONYMOUS has a professional, that is, salaried core group, with everyone else being their puppets. This is a dangerous group. If mercenaries are paid to be violent, they will be.
Threats have been coming into the school itself for days. And that would be consistent with ANONYMOUS. Threatening to interfere with a place which children frequent is what terrorists do. Yep. It’s always the children. Always. And this isn’t just another Sandy Hook incident with some crazy guy. Instead, this is an international terrorist group. And it’s pre-meditated. I hope the police can stop them and their puppets in their tracks.
What will ANONYMOUS do in a situation like this, as retaliation for them not becoming the head of the Catholic Church? They’ll do what they so often do, as reported by those who have been attacked by ANONYMOUS, and that is to hack into websites and plaster homosexual porn all over the screens of the various pages of the websites. And then they go further. They go out of their way to push the police into using tear gas and, in various venues around the world, even live ammunition.
Why do they do that?
Because that’s the kind of person you would want in your local grade school teaching your kids, right? Isn’t that their message?
And, really, why bother the seminarians? Because ANONYMOUS is at war with the Catholic Church.
Update: Protesters were about — what? — a dozen? Those in masks were, like, maybe two or three in number. So sad altogether. I see that they’re blackmailing someone with already public information to be “revealed” on Monday.
Sent in by the Godmother.
Note that Jesus is wearing priestly vestments for the Mass that He is offering.
Three years old.
Perhaps only one in one million adult Catholics could offer anything close to such a profound theology of the Sacrifice of the Mass.
Out of the mouths of babes Thou hast perfected perfect praise…
On Acolytes – Altar Boys – Girl Altar Boys – Altar Servers – and, finally, in reversing that trend: VOCATIONS!
From Saint Theresa Catholic Church h/t FrZ!
When I was a little little kid, there were seminarians who were Acolytes. Those of younger days were called Altar Boys. The phrase Altar Boy was so ingrained, so right somehow, that when the priest, going against all church legislation, allowed girls to serve, everyone but everyone, without batting an eye, called them Girl Altar Boys. This wasn’t sarcastic, or mocking. It’s just that the phrase Altar Boy was so ingrained because it was just so right.
After some years, and it was years, a false feminism reared its ugly head with abortion and lesbianism, a natural follow up to all the ’68ing with contraception. And so the phrase, Altar Servers was coined. When girls started serving, boys stopped serving. It was all confusing. Girls couldn’t become priests, so what were they doing there? Getting empowered or some such thing? Blech. If girls are only worth anything if they act like boys, it is the end of respect for girls by boys. Not good, that. But the false feminist movement roared ahead, insisting that women were the scum of the earth unless they acted just like men. How stupid is that? How evil? How misogynistic? Liberals are really hateful of God and neighbor, even though they think they are so, you know, wonderful in their battle for “justice”.
The fellow in the video above, unfortunately, doesn’t make a distinction with some of his terminology, but we know what he means. He says that the guys like the cassock, not the alb, because the alb is a bit effeminate. What he’s talking about is not the alb that the priest wears with proper amice and cincture, but rather the white sack with hood and super large wing-like sleeves and nicey-nice inch thick rope.
The stupidest thing I’ve ever seen is girls in the Roman Cassock and collar. This is transvestism. Blech. Also, it is a great act of hatred for girls. Why? you ask. Because it gives them the impression that they can become priests. This is using them, these kids, for a political, anti-Catholic agenda. They will grow up wanting to become priests, not because they are called, but because they have been manipulated. And they will be disappointed, and will probably leave the Church to become Episcopalians or Anglicans or whatever other group changes doctrine at will as time goes on. This kind of abuse of kids is really sick in the head. If you can abuse kids that way, the door is open to other kinds of abuse, right? Really, it needs to stop, and stop now.
But may girls now serve? If the bishop permits this, there is an argument for that. However, the Holy See, wise as ever with this kind of canonization of disobedience, ruled that no matter what a bishop permits, the use of Girl Altar Boys is strictly up to the priest who is celebrating that particular Mass. It’s not up to the Pastor over against a Parochial Vicar. It’s up to the priest who is celebrating that particular Mass.
So, what happens when a priest who wants to promote vocations ever so very gently and with catechesis and all goodness and kindness insists on Boy Altar Boys? Well, a number of things:
- There is a rebellion: There is always but always a feminist mom who brings her daughter to “watch” with painful eyes, while the boys get trained in. The mother always complains, always threatens to write to the bishop, always using her little girl for her own agenda. Too bad, that. Priests shouldn’t cave in to this manipulation of priests, to this abuse of the girls.
- There is encouragement: There are always many more parishioners who back the priest, encouraging him to stay the course. God bless these noble parishioners. They are both men and women, and also girls (especially those who are home-schooling, having their heads screwed on straight).
- There is a sharp increase of Boy Altar Boys: Of course, those who appreciate clear thinking the most are the boys themselves. When they see the battle of Calvary going on right before them in the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and realize the great honor and dignity there is in serving the King of kings and the Lord of lord, He who is the Prince of the Most Profound Peace at the very moment when He, Son of God and Son of the Immaculate Conception is laying down His life for us — so, so majestic in His love — it is then that these boys flock to the altar not only to become Altar Boys, but to become — Dare they aspire to this?!?! — to become seminarians and, hopefully, one day, priests of The Priest, wanting to share the very greatest love of their lives that they have come to know in this way.
- There is a sharp increase in vocations to the priesthood: Parishes which have a superbly, respectfully offered Mass, using only Altar Boys, are often the only source of vocations to the priesthood in the entire diocese or region. This is true again and again and again. This is the way to go for the future of the Church.
- There is a sharp increase in vocations to the religious life: Truly. Girls are inspired by the manly service of the altar that they see being done by their male friends, and they start thinking about joining, say, the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Charlotte, or the Missionaries of Charity. Yikes! And we all benefit.
Great! So, why not do it?! Exactly! Let’s get to it!
P.S. By the way, decades ago there was a program called Knights of the Altar. Are there any good initiatives like that today that could be taken up by a parish which, from scratch, wants to start training some youngsters in for service at the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? That’s what I would like to know. Anyone?
I couldn’t care less what you priests and bishops think you do for vocations: If you don’t go to Confession regularly, you do absolutely nothing. Get that?
Let’s get on our knees, my brother priests and bishops. Our own going to Confession is the only way to promote vocations, because only then do we know what it’s all about.
Do you have special super-neat programs for vocations? You know, all the specialized questionnaires and all the demographics and psychological studies and arrays of perks and stuff like that? Jesus doesn’t give a damn about any of it.
Jesus is the One who calls, not you. Get out of the way. Let young men see Jesus in you. Unless you yourself are going to Confession, unless you know the wounds of Jesus ever so personally, unless you are on your knees before Him, they won’t be able to see Jesus in you.
If you’re not going to Confession, they’ll say: “So, what’s the point?” And you’ll respond with all sorts of programs and niceness. And they’ll become atheists.
I know, I know. There are many priests who don’t go to Confession. It’s hard to go to Confession to them, isn’t it? Sure. But it may save their souls. Do them a favor.
Actually, I’ve been too nice. Let’s put it this way:
A priest who doesn’t go to Confession will not promote vocations.
It’s not an absolute, but it’s most likely that:
A priest who doesn’t promote vocations almost certainly doesn’t go to Confession.
Oh, and you laity. The same goes for you. Think about it. Pray about it. Go to Confession.
Oh, and, from Saint Bernard:
Where can the weak find a place of firm security and peace, except in the wounds of the Savior? Indeed, the more secure is my place there, the more he can do to help me. The world rages, the flesh is heavy, and the devil lays his snares, but I do not fall, for my feet are planted on firm rock. I may have sinned gravely. My conscience would be distressed, but it would not be in turmoil, for I would recall the wounds of the Lord: he was wounded for our iniquities. What sin is there so deadly that it cannot be pardoned by the death of Christ? And so if I bear in mind this strong, effective remedy, I can never again be terrified by the malignancy of sin.
Oh, and, some related posts on the HSH ferocious series on Confession on the sidebar of the blog:
- My fellow Bishops and Priests, is not our own going to Confession the Heart of the New Evangelization? – The answer to that would be yes. Plus, a great cartoon.
- “Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” And then: “I hate other priests who tell me I’m on a slippery slope for not saying the Liturgy of the Hours” – Yikes! A bit of a monitum.
- Saint or Sinner: It’s Either Both or None – This is another of my favorite posts on the blog.
- JESUS GOES TO CONFESSION – Another of my favorites! If you want to know how much Jesus loves us, this post will give you an indication. A seven-fold Yikes!
Three totally awesome videos for vocations to the priesthood — must see — must share — have your boys and groups of boys watch these
h/t Jane Mossendew and her http://thoughtsfromoasisinfrenchcatholicism.blogspot.com/
Note that Jane is in hospital these days. No blood circulation on the left side. Hail Mary…
Thanks for everyone’s prayers during my doctor visit on Thursday. Since I stopped treatments last Summer and the tumor has remained stable since that time, the doctor is convinced that the tumor is now in remission. Not completely cured, but not growing either. There is still a mass in my brain, but there are no signs of active cancer cells or growth right now.The doctor did warn that this type of tumor typically grows again (branching off from the original tumor), but pointed out that I am already in the “long-term survival” range for this type of tumor (Anaplastic Astrocytoma), so the fact that I have few symptoms right now means that statistically, my expected survival from now on should be measured in years and not months. Overall, great news!
Please continue to remember me and all who suffer from cancer in your prayers! I will be praying a 9-day Novena of Thanksgiving to Our Lady of Lourdes for this good news. Please join if you would like!
LOL! Suggestions open at Holy Souls Hermitage blog for a seminarian’s attempt at a hermitage in the forest next to his seminary: HAH!
I suppose it’s only right that yours truly of Holy Souls Hermitage should be asked for advice about how to fix up a good hermitage. Judging from what seems to be mid-day shadows, his hermitage is already pointed ad orientem. So, that’s a great start.
This what my hermitage looked like when I started:
He’s called for suggestions about how he could improve his hermitage. Any ideas?
Also, have you encouraged vocations today?
Firstly, news of little N.
[Today] N. will go back to Hopkins for another treatment. It will require another spinal tap, Chemo treatment, IV flush and then if everything looks ok he will go home. Then mom and dad will monitor him to be sure he doesn’t get another fever and need to be rushed back to the ER. It is an emotional roller coaster for them. The visiting nurse explained that N. is much healthier than he was when this process began back in June. GOOD! But recall that in June he was so sick the doctors began the therapy without waiting for the test results – his condition was that bad.
N. doing pretty good at this time. Thank You Jesus. Everyday is a new chapter with lots of surprises. No one can take anything for granted.
Secondly, a seminarian, José. I met him last Summer in Lourdes. We have a common friend with PGJ. José has leukemia as well, induced by chemotherapy for face cancer. He’s in such a state that they can’t even transfer him to a different hospital. He’s bleeding out a bit since he basically has no white blood cells. He seems quite ready to go on to the next life. I wish I could say that.
Please include these intentions with your prayers along with all the other intentions of all the other readers. There are so many!
O.K. So. Add:
- Please pray for transitional Deacon S.C., age 46, recently diagnosed with cancer. He had it in the past and now it has returned. He has 5 tumors, one behind his heart– that can’t be operated on. I was told he has opted for minimal treatment and is hoping to reach ordination in June. [He can be ordained any time, which would be great, as he can then offer Holy Mass and do a few priestly things...]
- Six year old A., who is in such a frightful condition because of her returned cancer that only one other person has ever survived her situation.
- Don’t forget we are praying for seminarian PGJ, who is doing well… miraculously so… impossibly so… Yikes!
- I’ve added dozens more names from the ongoing novena for autistic kids and their families, which you can find at Mary Ann’s wonderful site.
Jesus is the one and only priest. When one of us lowly knuckleheads is ordained, he’s ordered to, that is, appropriated by our Lord in such a way that Jesus’ own priesthood works through us in the sacraments regardless of whether we are faithful or not. We are simply available for His use. Hopefully, as one great priest-friend put it, hopefully we get out of the way and let His priesthood shine through us.
- It’s not my parish. It’s Jesus’ parish.
- It’s not my Mass. It’s Jesus’ Mass.
- It’s not my priesthood. It’s Jesus’ priesthood.
The other year, I wrote this little litany of thanksgiving:
For my baptism flourishing in the priesthood… Thank you, Jesus. For the times I’ve baptized others… Thank you, Jesus.
For the sins you’ve forgiven me… Thank you, Jesus. For the sins you’ve forgiven others through me… Thank you, Jesus.
For the times I’ve been anointed at the point of death… Thank you, Jesus. For the times you’ve anointed others through me… Thank you, Jesus.
For my confirmation flourishing in the priesthood… Thank you, Jesus. For the times I’ve confirmed others… Thank you, Jesus.
For the times I’ve received you under my roof… Thank you, Jesus. For the times I’ve given your Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity to others… Thank you, Jesus.
For the times I’ve witnessed the marriage of others… Thank you, Jesus. For my marriage with the Church through the Mass… Thank you, Jesus.
For your constant priestly ministry for me… Thank you, Jesus. For your priestly ministry to others through me… Thank you, Jesus.
* * *
Jesus, you who hung in bleeding shreds of flesh on the cross because of my sins… Thank you, Jesus. Jesus, you who said, as the Master, so the disciple… Thank you, Jesus.
Jesus, you who said that we would protest at going into heaven by saying that we only did what we absolutely had to do, thank you for letting me know through the years that — if there is anything good in my priesthood — it is you who were at work.
4 January 1992. Yikes! A bazillion song birds were singing outside. Almost deafening. Yikes! again!
In the picture, from left to right:
- That’s Father John O’Brien on the far left (R.I.P.), long time Superior General of the Fathers of Mercy, from the 1960s to the 1990s.
- Bishop JohnMcRaith is emeritus bishop of Owensboro. I’m told by a recent Superior General that I’m the only one that the bishop has asked about through all these years. I’m sure that means that he’s been praying for me. I guess he knew I needed it!
- Just in between the hands of the bishop you can see the forehead of Father John Molloy (R.I.P.), who passed away a couple years back. He was our assistant General all these decades.
- The server, with his back to you, is now Father A.H., a diocesan priest.
- Way in the back is Father Ken Frye (R.I.P.), one time novice master
- Next to him, on the far right, is Father Joseph Burgdorf (R.I.P.), my own novice master from back in the day.
Tempus Fugit. Memento mori. Time flies. Remember death. Our Lord, the High Priest, always had His own death before Him!
A description of clericalism:
The laity are worthless unless they take on responsibilities of a priest who, with no sense of priestly identity, turns his priesthood into a display of power, delegating priestly responsibilities which he doesn’t care to do himself to the sycophantic lay enablers he gathers around himself for his self-congratulation.
The immediate practical effect of clericalism:
The parish is turned into a fiasco of jockeying for power, into which vacuum of egoism all would-be-service is transformed into aloof standoffishness that disdains any the responsibilities which have been delegated.
The immediate spiritual effect of clericalism:
Instead of everyone, priest and people, being in reverence and humble thanksgiving before our Lord Jesus, Mary’s Divine Son, so that all are eager to know how to make progress in the spiritual life, how to make a good confession, how to participate at Holy Mass with active receptivity, how to serve Jesus in each other… instead of all that, the immediate spiritual effect of clericalism is rivalry and bitterness among those competing for the most “power” and backing by the mere shell of the priest who no longer serves our Lord and His parish, but is rather defined by the sycophants to whom he has sold his soul for their shallow praise.
How clericalism results in the non-encouragement of vocations:
The priest doesn’t want any seminarians since he is afraid of any competition from someone who has a true priestly identity, something he cannot tolerate as he will not admit this priestly identity into his own life.
The laity don’t want any seminarians and the last thing they would ever do is to encourage vocations for the reason that any others would threaten their corner on power in the parish. They have their wimpish priest under their control and don’t want to risk losing this. Since there is no other reason to have a parish other than their power mongering.
If a vocation does show up, if a seminarian does make an appearance, he is roundly mocked with subtle and incisive public jabs that let him know that he and his service of Jesus are most unwelcome among these narrow-minded self-congratulators.
The irony of it all:
Clericalism, the word, in itself, sounds like it would encourage priestliness, but instead it is a full-fledged attack on the priesthood and the laity, geared to having people ignore Jesus so as to promote themselves.
How to bring an end to clericalism:
Prayer to Jesus, the High Priest. Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Just make sure Father does the exposition and reposition, even if he’s “busy” doing other things, you know, being a clericalist. If he’s already pulled this on you, just start to insist that he has to get his priorities straight. It only takes a couple of minutes.
There is no lack of vocations to the priesthood:
Any parish that knows who Jesus is has even dozens of vocations. Jesus makes it happen. He also calls others in other parishes, but they browbeat vocations into the dirt. But they are there. They often go elsewhere, joining other dioceses or religious congregations.
In the end:
In the end, Jesus is the Lord of History, and He gets what he wants. It’s good to be part of what He wants in view of all eternity. Really it is.
What to do:
To start, follow the command of our Lord to pray to the Harvest Master, our Heavenly Father, for vocations. In doing this, you are also praying for the conversion of the clericalists, whether priestly or lay. Pray for vocations, right here, right now: Hail Mary…
Holy Souls Hermitage is the midst of a drive to gather names of priest and bishops for whom to pray: (HERE).
Meanwhile, of course, I’ve received a rather welcome correction in this exercise, that is, a joyful pointing out that I have been most remiss in this exercize:
What about the seminarians?!
Without my asking, you’ve already sent in the names of dozens of seminarians for whom to pray. Thank you for that. My bad in not asking earlier.
So, what’s the solution?
Send me an email (holysoulshermitage using gmail dot com) with the names of the seminarians you know, and where they study.
All names are kept totally confidential.
In the subject line of the email, please write: PRAYERS FOR SEMINARIANS
They can be diocesan or religious or for institutes of apostolic life. They can be in a spiritual year, in philosophy, in theology, in a pastoral year, in their diaconate year. They can on “leave” for a while, to “think about it.”
Let’s encourage vocations to the priesthood like this. It’s a command of our Lord: Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest!
Hah. Guilty as charged. And proud of it. Yours truly was there in solidarity (months ago) as you can see I think twice in the video. Let’s put it up again. It’s most inspiring and lively. They are so full of joy in the Lord. What a tender moment. My heart and soul are stirred up with enthusiasm in the faith.
More recently, Mother Prioress of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, made sure that I had the booklet on spiritual motherhood put out by the Congregation for the Clergy some years ago. I think that that is a hint that they are praying for me. Obviously, if you follow this blog, you’ll know that such prayers are greatly needed! Thank you, Mother!
Their webpage is here: http://www.stjosephmonastery.com/
They are founding a new monastery in the Diocese of Charlotte, not terribly far from Holy Souls Hermitage. On the monastery grounds, there is going to be, please God, a new Catholic seminary for the Diocese of Charlotte and all around. The Catholic Church, you have to know, is growing in this diocese. We love vocations!
Oh, and something else I stole (actually, they emailed this to me):
You can get Mass kits like this here. [Note to the IRS: this is free advertizing!]
From a great friend:
I gave my [...] nephews a miniature set of realistic traditional brass altar ware, thurible w/ real charcoal [!], linens, and a monstrance from a homeschool website. They are [name] age 2 [!] and [name] age 4 [!].
From her sister-in-law:
“So, with the use of the Mass kit, [name] has been making priestly gestures, distributing the “Body of Christ” (in a whisper, mind you) to which we must say “Amen” and the other day I watched him as he circled our piano stool altar swinging the thurible. [name] has also got the 3 bells at the elevation down pat. Now, if I could just get them to stop fighting about who is the priest… at least they don’t have any illusions about [the neice]. Ha!”
“Candlesticks are cute!! [name] loves lighting the candles we have, then using the snuffer on them and then doing it all over again. Pyromaniac in the making…”
In a previous post, I mentioned a great solution to the debt facing seminarians and religious as they go through their formation. A priest dropped a comment to say this:
A similar problem exists for newly ordained priests. Many of us may not have had debt going into seminary, but we do have debt coming out of the seminary. Many of us had to go into debt in order to pay for our seminary education (not every diocese pays all expenses) and then we spend years and years of our priesthood trying to pay it off.
Laity, listen up! No one’s talking entitlement here. Not at all. And I know many of you get stuck paying your education loans for years to come. But priests can’t do the extra job at McDonalds to pay things off either. One might do well to figure out just what priests are paid and what benefits they have in your particular diocese. If things look pretty dire, why not team together and find out about paying off your new priest’s seminary education bill in one shot? That would be a pretty cool ordination gift, don’t you think? Hey, you Knights of Columbus! This means you too!
Anedote: When I was a lowly deacon, I was getting $200 total per month, no benefits, no retirement. Nothing. Forget health insurance altogether. I was required with that $200 to get a car, pay for the repairs, pay for the registration and tags and insurance and gasoline and oil and tires. I also had to pay for my own groceries. I used to survive on 0.17¢ cardboard boxes of macaroni and orange sawdust gritty powder cheese, which I can still taste. I’m not complaining. To me, it’s all an adventure. For quite a few parishes, all I had was a bicycle. I remember riding that bike over to the high school (out of session in the summer) in order to speak to one of the priests in the offices there. I had to cross a picket line of teachers wanting much more money and benefits. I was taunted and mocked. One fellow in particular said I was terribly rich for having a bicycle. He probably thought I had an expensive car as well. Nope. I constantly used that bicycle, especially for runs to the hospital to see patients. When I did get a car, I had to avoid mud puddles, since the floor was so rusted out I would get soaked when there was any water on the road. But that’s O.K.! However, the director of the hospital was pretty upset when I had to do an emergency overnight and had nothing to pay him. And it’s not that the diocese was paying so much for my studies. My parents, God rest them, paid for pretty much everything. That is NOT the case of all seminarians, and many priests are saddled with an enormous debt and have nothing with which to pay it off. Should they get a side job at the gasoline station? Just a thought… Some priests are paid extremely well, but others are not. Find out!
Why would any parish priest find himself in heaven? Is there only one canonized parish priest? Yikes!
I mean, there’s gotta be some priests in heaven, right? As far as I know, unless there has been some recent canonizations which slip my mind at the moment (very possible), there is only ONE, that is, count them all, only ONE canonized parish priest in the history of the Church: Saint Jean-Marie Vianney, the famed Curé d’Ars. That’s it.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m guessing that it’s not easy to be a parish priest! I’m excluding priests who have become bishops, founders of religious orders, martyrs and such like. Just plain and simple parish priests. Just the Curé d’Ars as far as I know.
Of course, one doesn’t need to be canonized a saint in order to be a saint in heaven! But the question seems particularly important:
Why would any priest find himself in heaven?
Having seen more parishes from the inside-out, whether diocesan or religious, whether in the USA or right around the world, in the city or the country, in affluence or dire poverty, I make the following observations:
- A priest who, upon death, would find himself in heaven would be the priest who has learned in the school of fidelity through an unending series of tough knocks, as led by grace, and in no other way, to rejoice that Christ Jesus, his close Friend, has redeemed all.
- And knowing that Mary’s Son has redeemed all, but has nevertheless saved only the many, respecting the free will of all, such a priest will have have been in anguish to be available in whatever way of fidelity to Jesus that he can so as to be an invitation to go to heaven, by his words and deeds, to those who will be saved (he not knowing which one’s, and so being available for all), a kind of Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane experience when faced with horrific, arrogant, aloof and uncaring infidelity.
- In sharing the greatest love of his life, the Triune God, he will have done so in humble thanksgiving, getting out of the way, if you will, of the one and only High Priest of that parish, Christ Jesus, being, therefore, a crystal clear, transparent, purified instrument of Jesus’ priesthood, rejoicing in reverence before the Son of God, watching Jesus go to work through his own fidelity among the parishioners, who will meet charity in all truth, who will in this way meet Jesus, and either (temporarily) reject Jesus or be drawn deeper into the living faith, becoming ever more reflections of that indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity in their own lives.
- The priest who will find himself in heaven will be the one who “wasted time” on earth, praying despite knowing himself to be unworthy, praying precisely because he knows himself to be unworthy, praying because Jesus Himself commands this and makes it possible, praying because of knowing that Jesus Himself know much better than we do just how weak we, His priests, are, praying because we know how overwhelmed we are at the task before us, conjoined with the fright of knowing we have to render an account of our priesthood, of each member of the flock, the good and the bad, the helpful and the difficult, the saints and every last Judas.
- The priest who finds himself in heaven already knew well on this earth that the friendship with our Lord always expressed with humble thanksgiving for all things is the only way, the way we pray constantly, the way we become perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect, the way we know just how much Jesus has enthusiastically done for us and the way to know just how much He wants us to do for His little flock, His parishioners.
- The priest who finds himself in heaven will have been obedient to rightfully expressed authority on this earth, obeying the non-ultra vires requests of his bishop, obeying always with willing, religious submission, the teaching of the Supreme Magisterium of the Church, teaching others the same obedience, the same love for charity and truth, leading others to know his own love of obedience, that is, of listening with open heart and mind and soul to the Church, and of course, to our Heavenly Father, who speaks that one Word, that Logos, Jesus, to us, within us, commanding us to listen to Him, to obey Him… to obey Him who commands us to obey the Church He founded on Saint Peter.
- The priest who finds himself in heaven will have done the one thing necessary: he will have found himself on his knees in the confessional, confessing his own sins, and being absolved, will find the gates of heaven open to him, he knowing full well that the keys of the kingdom of heaven are not found in heaven, but on earth, within the confessional.
- And that priest will, of course, instill in our Lord’s parishioners a great love of the Sacrament of Confession, telling them frequently about his own joyful experience of the friendship of Christ Jesus that he finds in the confessional, encouraging them to go to confession frequently, instructing them how to do it, advertising that he is available for confession with generous times for scheduled confessions.
- A priest who finds himself in heaven in adoration before the throne of God — in that beatific vision – will have had a great love, expressed in adoration, for Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament already here on this earth, knowing that on this earth, Jesus, in His blessed vision of the Father, draws us to Himself, into that life of the Trinity, having us see the Father through, with and in Himself, by the firey love of the Holy Spirit.
- The priest who finds himself in heaven will have a most wonderful, joyous, filial love for the Blessed Virgin, the Immaculate Mother of God, of Jesus, of all priests. He will have gone out of his way to spread devotion to her, to honor her, to share with all his love for her, she, who beheld her Son, The Priest, under the cross, in solidarity with Him, when we priests ran away, she, who, immaculate, with clear vision, with such purity, has seen the full hell of all our sins, and has interceeded for us, miserable creatures that we are, so that we might become good brothers of her ever so good and ever so kind Son. Such a priest who finds himself in heaven will surely have prayed innumerable times: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen!” Such a priest will surely hear the words of Jesus at his death: “Hey! There you are! My mom really harassed me a lot about you! In fact, I see that you’ve begged her to do just this. Totally cool! Come on in. I’ll introduce you to her personally, right now!” Yikes!
I could go on, but you get the idea… It’s not about lording it over other priests. It’s not about how big a bureaucracy one has had in a parish. It’s about fidelity in the family of faith: Fidelity! Fidelity! Fidelity! And that’s it. That’s all of it.
Also see: Why would a nice priest go to hell? This post has been updated with the research of one of our readers.
- Have you prayed for priests today? Hail Mary…
- Have you prayed for vocations today? Our Father…
- Do you have a vocation? Glory be…
- Have you actively encouraged vocations today? Today’s the day.
Update: Although I’m a fourth degree Knight of Columbus, and although Father Michael McGivney was declared “venerable” by Pope Benedict XVI, he doesn’t count, not being canonized (yet)!
“I feel called to the priesthood or religious life” “Are you in debt?” “Yes” “Get lost” (No longer!)
Prepare to be impressed:
Debt was always a horrific problem in the seminaries in which I taught and was a formation advisor. If there was a debt of any real size, which a diocese would pay off upon ordination, the question was whether the candidate was afraid not to be ordained because of the debt, but would otherwise discern out of the seminary.
Laboure Society is a very welcome service. These guys are professionals and are totally aware of such dynamics, and know how to deal with them, and won’t be taken for a ride. If you have the wherewithal… just sayin’…
We don’t want a situation in which only elite rich people can apply to a seminary or house of formation. Sure, some elite rich people, like Saint Matthew (the tax collector), were called by Jesus. But some were not known to be rich. Should it be different today?
Thanks for Happy Fathers Day wishes. I would like to share this one from an email. Just to say, whenever I get comments like this, or whenever someone uses the title “Father” with my name, it is an examination of conscience, and a chance for humble thanksgiving to the Lord, who alone perfectly manifests what fatherhood is all about:
Happy Father’s Day Father George!
Thank you for your generous sacrifice and for all that you do in the service of our Lord. Thank you for being a spiritual Father to me in every sense of the word. Thank you for your example, your kind words, your encouragement, and your humor. Thank you for your constant reminders to always look to Him – he who is so kind and…. AND so good! Happy Father’s Day! [...snip...] I’m sure you have seen this prayer before, but I offer it for you today. Gone are the days, it seems, when the faithful offered a kiss to the hands of their Priest. I think it’s a custom that needs to return and maybe bring back some of the reverence we once had for our Priests and who they represent. I remember the awe it inspired in me to see my own proud, strong Dad, offer such a kiss to our Parish priest. That gesture taught me a lot. I ask Our Lady to bring you comfort and peace today and every day. Have a wonderful day Father George!
The Beautiful Hands of a Priest
We need them in life’s early morning,
We need them again at its close;
We feel their warm clasp of true friendship,
We seek it while tasting life’s woes.
When we come to this world we are sinful,
The greatest as well as the least.
And the hands that make us pure as angels
Are the beautiful hands of a priest.
At the altar each day we behold them,
And the hands of a king on his throne
Are not equal to them in their greatness
Their dignity stands alone.
For there in the stillness of morning
Ere the sun has emerged from the east,
There God rests between the pure fingers
Of the beautiful hands of a priest.
When we are tempted and wander
To pathways of shame and sin
‘Tis the hand of a priest that absolve us.
Not once but again and again.
And when we are taking life’s partner
Other hands may prepare us a feast
But the hands that will bless and unite us,
Are the beautiful hands of a priest.
God bless them and keep them all holy,
For the Host which their fingers caress,
What can a poor sinner do better
Than to ask Him who chose them to bless
When the death dews on our lids are falling,
May our courage and strength be increased
By seeing raised o’er us in blessing
The beautiful hands of a priest.
Just to say: The first time my hands were kissed as a priest was immediately after my ordination, when giving first blessings. This practice still continues to this day.
The hands of a priest are consecrated, specially anointed. They anoint the sick, absolve sin, consecrated the Body and Blood of Christ Jesus at Holy Mass… Kissing the hands of a priest is an an incredibly humble manifestation of faith in the sacrament of Holy Orders, the office of the priesthood in that of the High Priesthood of Jesus, our God and Savior.
Are priests sinners? Also. No one has forgotten that. Kissing the hands of a priest is the most outrageous way to remind a priest to be holy as our Heavenly Father is holy. I am always shocked and amazed and in thanksgiving for humble faith in the priesthood in the face of my own weakness when someone kisses my hands. Not so infrequent, actually. Yikes! and Yikes! again!
The neighbors went to the First Mass of Father Matthew Codd at the Minor Basilica of Saint Lawrence in Asheville. Use the search box on this blog and put in “minor basilica” to get about a million pictures of this wonderful Church.
Now, if anyone has any pictures of the First Mass of Father Peter Shaw, send them in! For great pictures of the First Mass of Father Jason Barone, you might check out seminarian Philip Gerard Johnson’s blog, In Caritate Non Ficta, after another few days.
Awake at three, and then, away! Ordinations are the most happy occasion for this hermit. This is what it is all about. This is also when great bishops are most happy. Everyone remarks at the great happiness of the Bishop of Charlotte on the day of ordinations. This is when bishops are most fatherly.
Here’s Peter Shaw…
All three new priests of Mary’s Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Hah! A rambunctious seminarian of the diocese has this licence plate:
“PONTIFICAL” ! ! ! Today was a most wonderful day, catching up with many priests and seminarians, many of whom were past students of mine at the Pontifical Seminary called the Josephinum, in Columbus, Ohio. The diocese of Charlotte is by far and away the best diocese I’ve ever been in. This is one happy hermit!
Pray, pray, pray for vocations. It is a direct command of our Lord to pray the Master of the Harvest for harvesters! Pray every day. Why not offer one session of the daily Angelus to this end?