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.

___

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 .

Laboring in the Vineyard

One of the advantages of studying at a Pontifical University in Rome, was the opportunity to come in touch with so many seminarians preparing for the Priesthood. I have met so many awesome then-seminarians (now, awesome priests!) who made my theological training all the deeper because of their own daily profession of their calling to become shepherds of souls through the administration of the Sacraments. One such then-seminarian, now-diocesan priest, Fr. Jason Vidrine shared the following video promotion for the Norbertines of Orange (Norbertine Canons Regular in Orange County, California). We were both privileged to have among our classmates some of the young men in the video. Their charism and intensity of community life is portrayed beautifully here.

I recommend to any young man called to the priesthood and religious life to consider a Norbertine vocation.

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Prayer to Discern a Vocation

Lord, there are so many things in my life that I do not understand,
so many questions about the future that I need to ask.
What is Your plan for me?
What is the work You want me to do?

All I really know is that You love me.
Show me the road You want me to walk –
to fulfillment, to happiness, to holiness.

And if You are calling me to
priesthood or to the religious life,

give me the strength to say “yes”
and the grace to begin even now
to prepare myself for the challenge
of a life spent in Your service and
in the care of Your people.

I ask You this in Jesus’ Name.

Amen.

Theodore Cardinal McCarrick
Archbishop Emeritus of Washington

At the Foot of the Cross

Sometimes our lives don’t seem to make sense and our concerns overwhelm us. It is at moments like this, our faith is tested…it is time to cry out – Jesus, I need you. I found this video a while back by Robert Galea. Enjoy:

Robert Galea is a Catholic seminarian from Malta who will be ordained to the Priesthood this November 5th, 2010. Please keep him in your prayers.