Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Celebrating the Year of the Priest

As has been extensively publicized, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has called the Church to celebrate the Year of the Priest. This special year is devoted to encouraging priests themselves to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ, the Great High Priest. It is also an opportunity for the whole Church to discover anew the identity and mission of the priesthood and celebrate the unique gift of priests in the life of the Church.
We all need priests to bring us Jesus in the Eucharist, to forgive our sins in confession, and to minister to us in so many ways.
Our parish began the celebration of the Year of the Priest with a beautiful Mass on June 19th, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Father Chris Saliga, chaplain at Walsh University, gave a moving homily on the Sacrifice of Christ and the priesthood. We are grateful to the Vocations Committee for their generosity in preparing for this celebration. Later in the summer, the Vocations Committee sponsored a Novena to Saint John Vianney. 10-30 people gathered each night to pray for vocations. The Novena concluded with a Holy Hour on the Feast of Saint John Vianney, which was open to both our parish and the Stark County Knights of Columbus. Thank you to all who have joined in our parish’s celebrations of the Year of the Priest.
We are now anticipating Priesthood Sunday, a national observance honoring priests. We take this opportunity to recognize, thank, and pray for all our priests, on whose ministry we depend for so many spiritual gifts.

As we anticipated the Novena to Saint John Vianney in the summer, I composed some simple words to fit with one of my favorite hymn tunes. This hymn celebrates the priesthood of Jesus and the ministry of ordained priests in the Church. It follows a traditional 3-verse structure, which, in this case, emphasizes both the three-fold identity of Jesus (priest, prophet and king) and the three-fold gifts of the priesthood (sanctifying, teaching, and shepherding).

Jesus is the High Priest. His priests are the instruments through which Jesus gives us Himself in the Eucharist; and, through their ministry, they strive to reflect the love of the Heart of Jesus in the midst of the world.
Jesus is the prophet. His priests proclaim and preach His Word to us, a Word that is living and effective, a Word that forms the guide and path of our Christian life.
Jesus is the King who rules from the right hand of the Father and the Good Shepherd who feeds and nourished His flock, the Church. His priests lead the flock close to Him, and by their ministry, bring the saving grace of the Cross to fruition in the lives of His people.

Praise be to you, O Christ the great High Priest
Tune: Finlandia (“Be Still My Soul”)

Praise be to you, O Christ the great High Priest
Who for your Church prepare a holy feast.
Through hands anointed and through words sublime
You come to us in forms of bread and wine.
Through humble men, the priests you choose and call,
Love from your Heart, flows to the hearts of all.

Praise be to you, prophet and teacher true
Whose holy words believers’ hearts imbue.
Through sermons preached and through a virtuous life
Your priests proclaim your victory over strife.
Through prophet’s call to preach the truth in love
Your word of life lifts souls to you above.

Praise be to you, Good Shepherd of the flock
Whose holy Church stands firm upon the Rock.
Through loving hearts of shepherds true and good
Our wounded souls are cleansed in tide of blood.
Through faithful men the image of the Cross
Stands strong for all to heal every loss.

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