Prayer and the Priesthood – Updated

An update, with a video of a priest, Fr. Michael Rodriguez, defending the position of the Church on the definition of marriage at a city council meeting in El Paso, Texas:

h/t Father Z (follow the link for another video of the same priest celebrating Mass).

Let us continue to pray for our priests, that they may always remain close to the font of wisdom that comes from the Lord. And from this union with Him, they will be filled with holy courage to speak the truth with love so to strengthen the whole family of God.

If you so desire, a novena for priests.

Prayer is our only defense. Let us persevere in it.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, hear our prayers.

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Today began as one of those days where I wanted to shout (actually, I did!) halleluiahs in answer to prayers for a priest. Today ended, tainting that joy with the announcement of John Corapi, that he would no longer be an active priest. But first the good news:

A friend and I have been praying for months for a particular priest, who, coming into a new parish found his orthodoxy was not well received. He is a young, yet experienced priest placed in a little parish in an obscure town that has not had a permanent priest in six years…we were praying in hope that he wouldn’t be another transient priest, but would have the strength to endure the poorly catechized parishioners, and stay for the long haul. Today was a defining moment for him.

Today, was the first time after months of structural repairs to the Church, it was re-opened for the celebration of the Mass. Parishioners came in, almost falling over themselves with the immediate realization that the Tabernacle was no longer on the side, but was front and center below the life-size Crucifix. He explained in his homily how in role of Pastor he must call his flock to the Shepherd by orienting them to Jesus Christ, both Jesus on the Cross, and Jesus truly present in the Holy Eucharist.  He pointed to the fact that he had uncluttered the sanctuary, leaving nothing but the essentials (Cross and Tabernacle), explaining how our lives are so cluttered, and how in all the clutter we have, we get disoriented from what is important. Pointing again to Jesus on the Cross and in the Tabernacle he said, “This is what is important. This is what we are here for.”

My heart carries praise to God for this sign — this wonderful sign — of the priesthood.

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As night approached, and I was finishing some last communications, I saw the “announcement” from Father (now Mister) John Corapi, “I’m not going to be involved in ministry as a priest any longer…”

Many others are reporting on this, but in light of my experience earlier today, I ask that we all pray for him. Having heard his conversion story many years ago at our Parish mission, his announcement today sounded as a denouncement of that story. His conversion story was one filled with grace and gratitude…I can’t say the same with his latest. This incongruent message leads me to pray. Let us pray for John Corapi. Let us pray for the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) to which he belongs. Let us pray for the Church leadership who are involved in the investigation. Let us pray for all who have benefited through the years from Corapi’s homilies and catechetical messages, that they will not be harmed or scandalized.

In the Gospel of  Luke, Jesus says, “Simon, Simon, behold Satan desired to have you that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren” (Luke 23:31ff)

Let us pray:

Lord Jesus, you have chosen your priests from among us and sent them out to proclaim your word and to act in your name. For so great a gift to your Church, we give you praise and thanksgiving. We ask you to fill them with the fire of your love, that their ministry may reveal your presence in the Church.

Since they are earthen vessels, we pray that your power shine out throught their weakness.

In their afflictions let them never be crushed;
in their doubts never despair;
in temptation never be destroyed;
in persecution never abandoned.

Inspire them through prayer to live each day the mystery of your dying and rising. In times of weakness send them your Spirit, and help them to praise your heavenly Father and pray for poor sinners. By the same Holy Spirit put your words on their lips and your love in their hearts, to bring good news to the poor and healing to the brokenhearted. And may the gift of Mary your mother, to the disciple whom you loved, be your gift to every priest. Grant that she who formed you in her human image, may form them in your divine image, by the power of your Spirit, to the glory of God the Father.  Amen.

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UPDATE: What Priests are Saying:

Fr. Joseph Jenkins asks, Black Sheep Dog or Black Wolf?

 reflects On the Bigger Issue

Father Zuhlsdorf shares some observations about our times, and about Corapi’s mortal soul.

Other bloggers offering prayers:

Deacon Bill at Deacons Today: Dalmatics and Beyond encourages us to pray.

Gerard M. Nadal at Coming Home extends a message to Fr Corapi, and No Room for Black Sheepdogs.

Ancient Soul: Hold FATHER Corapi (once a priest ALWAYS a priest) in prayer.

Other Commentary:

ThePulp.it has a roundup of to-date commentary.

The Anchoress has a good list of other commentary, and updated.

Deacon Greg also has a list of blog comentary and updated.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS  is leaving room pondering, could it be a hoax, now that it’s not a hoax .

Saint Joseph, the Silent Servant

On the feast of Saint Joseph, the Husband of Mary, I went to the Parish of St Joseph’s, hoping to find a Mass, but all was quiet. There are no Masses usually on Saturday morning, but being the Church’s patron saint, I hoped. Instead, I decided to pray before the statue of St Joseph in the courtyard, meditating upon his role in the life of Jesus.

Praying the joyful mysteries of the Rosary, I marveled how, unlike Mary whose words resonate in the telling of the salvific story in the Gospels, a constant fiat to God’s will, Joseph’s voice is not heard. We hear, perhaps what he was thinking (‘Mary was found with child…(he) decided to divorce her quietly’), but never do we hear Him, but in silence obeys in his own service to God. Though his actions, he proves the mettle of his character. A faithful servant of the Most High.

My thoughts turn back to the silent servant of Saint Joseph, too, reading with sadness the allegations charged against Fr. John Corapi, S.O.L.T.. He posted a message, “A Call to Prayer” on his website:

On Ash Wednesday I learned that a former employee sent a three-page letter to several bishops accusing me of everything from drug addiction to multiple sexual exploits with her and several other adult women. There seems to no longer be the need for a complaint to be deemed “credible” in order for Church authorities to pull the trigger on the Church’s procedure, which was in recent years crafted to respond to cases of the sexual abuse of minors. I am not accused of that, but it seems, once again, that they now don’t have to deem the complaint to be credible or not, and it is being applied broadly to respond to all complaints. I have been placed on “administrative leave” as the result of this.

I’ll certainly cooperate with the process, but personally believe that it is seriously flawed, and is tantamount to treating the priest as guilty “just in case”, then through the process determining if he is innocent. The resultant damage to the accused is immediate, irreparable, and serious, especially for someone like myself, since I am so well known. I am not alone in this assessment, as multiple canon lawyers and civil and criminal attorneys have stated publicly that the procedure does grave damage to the accused from the outset, regardless of rhetoric denying this, and has little regard for any form of meaningful due process.

All of the allegations in the complaint are false, and I ask you to pray for all concerned.

There is a lot of speculation about Father Corapi’s case on the web, some coming to his defense, while others plant seeds of doubt of his innocence. And in this, I only look to Saint Joseph whose feast we celebrated as this story unfolded. Would he be sitting around speculating on this matter? How would this ‘righteous man’ respond to this sad news? His example in the Gospels, perhaps indicates, he probably would say very little, if anything, but at the same time, be a man of action, placing all in God’s capable hands. And perhaps, this is a message for us too.

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To understand the character of Saint Joseph, you may want to reflect upon the Seven Sundays Devotion to Saint Joseph, with each day’s consideration taken from Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation “Redemptoris Custos” (Guardian of the Redeemer).

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Related Posts:

March 31 – An Update via National Catholic Register: What is known, and what isn’t.

An efficacious way we can help Fr. Corapi and other accused PriestsA Novena for Fr John Corapi via www.couragiouspriest.com

The Anchoress demonstrates the proper attitude we need to have right now.

Pat Archbold has a statement from Fr. Corapi’s superior, Rev. Gerald Sheehan.

Happy Catholic looks at it in the Lenten context

Fr. Dwight Longenecker reminds us to be wary of adulation of priests, and to not place them on pedestals.

What is known, and what isn’t.