Friday, August 13, 2010

Of "Holy" Men

We have been very blessed in Atlanta to have many seminarians, about 50! Men willing to give their lives to the service of the ministerial priesthood. At St. Vincent de Paul in Dallas, we were especially blessed over the past couple of years to have two transitional deacons, spend their year with our parish. Living in our "rural but growing" community in GA, growing in formation for the priesthood with our Pastor, Fr. Adrian Pleus.

We also have had other seminarians involved with our Parish through their formation, one assisting through a summer break, and another a part of our Parish with his family, who attended and served many masses through his years of formation. In fact, 3 have now celebrated their first mass with our humble "but growing" community. Growing up in the catholic church, I do not remember a time that parishes were involved in Praying for Vocations. This is something I learned about here in Atlanta. I received a postcard sized card with a picture of a seminarian and his address on it from a seminarian's mother a few years ago. I accepted it and wrote to the seminarian, admittedly probably once. But, I started praying a prayer for priests.

I have been so fortunate to have been on pilgrimage to Italy, Portugal-Spain-France, and the Holy Land. Again, at every stop, whichever seminarians we were praying for at the time, plus all seminarians especially those in Atlanta received intentions at Masses in Assisi, Rome, in Jerusalem at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Fatima, Lourdes, and Lisieux. I pray in thanksgiving that these men are discerning the priesthood, and also for their courage, and strength, but especially that they will become Holy priests by God's grace. This is their prayer as well, as one seminarian shared with me. As we are people they are ministering to, we need to be praying for them! Not judging, not challenging, no expectations...just giving the same mercy, compassion, and love that they are giving us. And, that starts with prayer. Lots of it.

The fruit of all these years in prayer for our Priests and Vocations brought about a very interesting year for me. During this Year of the Priest, I had a new understanding of how difficult this calling truly is. Yes, they are human. Yes, they have tough days like you and me. But, at the same time, they are called to be holy right?

"Much will be required of the person with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more."

After learning of a difficult situation, I prayed, and cried, and was overwhelmed with compassion for one of the priests my family had prayed for long ago. The magnifying glass held by the people, needs to magnify the Lord - not the individual mistakes we all make. Through my prayer, and study of Hebrews 7 and Psalm 110, I put together a special rosary, the "You Are A Priest Forever Rosary". With different materials for each of the decades reflecting on the beauty, and the difficulty of the vocation. I have made and given them so far as gifts to 3 of the Holy men God has brought to my path, and I have decided now to offer these as a special order - with the ability to engrave initials and date of ordination or anniversary - and somehow offer the net profits to the Seminarians of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

They will be available at

And with immense thanksgiving to the Lord for Fr. Adrian, Fr. Ignacio, Fr. Omar, Fr. Mario, Fr. Tom, Fr. Brian, Fr. Juan, and Fr. G, and all the seminarians in the Archdiocese I pray:

O Jesus, I pray for your faithful and fervent priests; for your unfaithful and tepid priests; for your priests laboring at home or abroad in distant mission fields; for your tempted priests; for your lonely and desolate priests; for your young priests; for your dying priests.

But above all I recommend to you the priests dearest to me; the priest who baptized me; the priests who absolved me; the priests at whose Masses I assisted in Holy Communion; the priests who taught and instructed me; all the priests whom I am indebted in any other way. O Jesus, keep them all close to your heart, and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen.

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