Have you ever considered a vocation to the priesthood or the religious life?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Teaching about Christ

Cardinal John Foley, the grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, is featured in Zenit today, reflecting on his 47 years in the priesthood.

In the interview, Cardinal Foley recalled a heartwarming moment that occurred after he graduated from college, when he was doing volunteer work and teaching the catechism to mentally challenged youngsters. It occurred when he was mulling entering the diocesan seminary.

"I had six children in this school to whom I was teaching catechism, and the Sister Superior came in and said, 'Well, children, do you like Mr. Foley?'" he told Zenit.

"One boy answered, 'No! No! We love Mr. Foley!'

"I thought that was a marvelous distinction for a mentally handicapped boy to make.

"She said, 'Why do you love Mr. Foley?'

"He said, 'We love Mr. Foley because he teaches us about Jesus.' And I thought, 'there is nothing more important in life than teaching people about Jesus and bringing Jesus to them.'

"That solidified my vocation for the priesthood."

Click HERE to read the entire Zenit interview.

Day 5 of St. John Vianney Novena

O Holy Priest of Ars, you knew how important was a good confession for the Christian life. It was to procure the happy fruits of millions of souls that you agreed to be in an uncomfortable confessional, which was like a prison, up to 15 to 16 hours on certain days. 
I will try to develop the habit of frequent confession, to prepare properly each time and to have always regret for my sins, so that the grace of final perseverance but also the sanctification of my soul will be assured. Ask this grace for me.
Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for me during this novena especially for ... (
mention silently your special intentions). 
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

Click HERE to see the entire novena.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day 4 of St. John Vianney Novena

O Holy Priest of Ars, you knew how important was a good confession for the Christian life. It was to procure the happy fruits of millions of souls that you agreed to be in an uncomfortable confessional, which was like a prison, up to 15 to 16 hours on certain days. 
I will try to develop the habit of frequent confession, to prepare properly each time and to have always regret for my sins, so that the grace of final perseverance but also the sanctification of my soul will be assured. Ask this grace for me.
Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for me during this novena especially for ... (
mention silently your special intentions). 
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be


Click HERE to see the entire novena.

Detroit priest's ultimate sacrifice

There's a sad story coming out of Detroit today. Father Ricardas Repsys, pastor at Divine Providence Lithuanian Catholic Church, died trying to save his nephew from drowning on Lake St. Clair on Tuesday. Father Repsys jumped into the lake after the 13-year-old boy began struggling to stay above the surface. 

Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron is among those hailing the priest's selfless act. "I hope it is some comfort during this very difficult time that the last act of Father Repsys was a heroic one," he said in a statement.

Click HERE to read the Detroit News' article about Father Repsys.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 3 of St. John Vianney Novena

Saint John Marie Baptist Vianney because of your love of God you showed great charity towards your neighbor. You could not preach on the Love of God without burning tears of love. During your last years, it seemed as though you could not talk about any thing else or live for anything else. Thus you sacrificed yourself to your neighbor by consoling, absolving and sanctifying them to the limits of your strength. 

Your charity inspires me to greater love of God, a love which is shown more by acts then by words. Help me to love my neighbor generously as Christ loves them.
Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for me during this novena especially for ... (
mention silently your special intentions). 
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

Click HERE to see the entire novena.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

National Geographic profiles priest-Holocaust historian

The work of French priest Father Patrick Desbois in documenting Nazi terror in the Ukraine during the Holocaust will be featured in an Aug. 2 special on National Geographic Channel. 

The CNS Blog has a fascinating post about Father Desbois, who has found 800 Nazi mass execution sites in the country through interviews with elderly Ukrainian villagers. Click HERE to read more about Father Desbois and the TV special. 

Day 2 of St. John Vianney Novena

Saint John Vianney, what confidence the people had in your prayers! You could not leave your old rectory or your humble church without being surrounded by imploring souls, who appealed to you as they would have appealed to Jesus Himself during His earthly life. And you, O good Saint, gave them hope by your words, which were full of love for God. 
You, who had always counted entirely on the heart of God, obtain for me a deep filial trust in His Providence. As the hope of divine goods fills my heart, give me courage and help me to always obey the Commandments of God. 
Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for me during this novena especially for ... (
mention silently your special intentions). 
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

Click HERE to see the entire novena.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Novena prayer to St. John Vianney

This year, as we celebrate the Year For Priests, why not devote a little time to pray to St. John Vianney? Today is the first day of a novena prayer to the patron of the world's priests, whose feast day is Aug. 4. Here is today's prayer:

Saint John Vianney you were born of a deeply religious mother; from her you received the Holy Faith; you learned to love God and to pray. At a young age, you were seen kneeling in the front of the statue of Mary. Your soul was supernaturally carried towards the things on High. Despite the high cost, you answered your vocation!

Against many obstacles and contradictions, you had to fight and suffer to become the perfect priest which you were. But your deep spirit of faith supported you in all these battles. 0 Great Saint you know the desire of my soul; I would like to serve God better; from Him I have received so many good things. For this, obtain for me more courage and especially the depth of faith.

Many of my thoughts, words, and actions are useless for my sanctification and for my salvation, because this supernatural spirit does not stir up my life. Help me to be better in the future. 
Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for me during this novena especially for ... (mention special intentions).
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

Read OSV's piece about the novena prayer by clicking HERE. Or find the full prayer at EWTN's website HERE. 

You can also check out LOLSaint's helpful reminder to start praying the novena by clicking HERE.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Article from The Priest Magazine's September issue

Monsignor Owen F. Campion, editor of The Priest magazine, writes about The Year of the Priest in his column:
"Here goes. I am being very frank. When it was announced, I did not know exactly what focus this year would have, nor precisely what would be its purpose. On top of it all, some of the suggestions for how to observe the year, such as sending a warm and fuzzy greeting card to the pastor, or making a point to stop after Mass to compliment a homily, were so silly and artificial that I thought, ''If this is the Year of the Priest, well, it might not help priests or Catholics in the pew.''

"I completely changed my mind after reading Pope Benedict XVI's homily at Evening Prayer in Rome on June 19 inaugurating the Year of the Priest. I am glad that I changed my mind...."

Read the entire column here»

Friday, July 17, 2009

Remembering a priest who loved the poor

The poor of San Francisco have lost a friend. Franciscan Father Floyd Lotito, longtime director of many programs at the St. Anthony Foundation in the city's Tenderloin district, died Tuesday.

Father Lotito was known for his ability to involve some of the city's most powerful residents in programs that helped the poor, including San Francisco Giants pitcher Barry Zito and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 

"He was able to bring together well-known San Francisco politicians, athletes and philanthropists and connect them with the Tenderloin. He saw both sides of San Francisco and brought them together," St. Anthony Foundation spokesman Barry Stenger told the San Francisco Examiner (click HERE for story).

Click HERE for a photo remembrance of Father Lotito, put together by the St. Anthony Foundation. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Incredible priest contest

Is your priest an incredible pastor? If you think so, enter him into a new video contest, sponsored by the Catholic Company in honor of the Year for Priests.
Check out the YouTube video that explains the entry rules, or visit the contest website by clicking HERE.
 

Monday, July 13, 2009

Was Army chaplain a saint?

On Friday, we posted an entry about both the U.S. Air Force and the National Guard seeking Catholic chaplains. Now comes an extraordinary story from the Kansas City Star about a young man who has recovered from a catastrophic head injury. Many are crediting the healing to the intercession of Father Emil Kapaun, a priest from the Diocese of Wichita who died in a POW camp while serving as an Army chaplain in the Korean war.

Chase Kears was a 19-yaer-old track star at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas when a pole-vault attempt went horribly awry, and his skull crashed to the ground, cracking from ear to ear. He was not expected to live; a priest was even called in to administer the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. But Kears' parish began praying to Father Kapaun. Seven weeks after being on the brink of death, the young man began to recover. Now, the Vatican is investigating the possible miracle.

Click HERE to read the Kansas City Star story and to learn more about the beloved, selfless priest at the center of the story.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Needed: A few good holy men

In recent days, there have been news reports about both the U.S. Air Force and the National Guard feeling the strains of the shortage of chaplains, particularly Catholic priests. The challenges the military branches face reflect the general priest shortage in dioceses throughout the country.

The Air Force has even gone so far as to offer a scholarship program, which includes  seminary tuition fees, books and a monthly stipend, to bolster the ranks of chaplains, especially Catholic priests. Currently, only 14 percent of Air Force chaplains are Catholic, although 25 percent of Air Force members are Catholic.

Click HERE to read about the Air Force's program and HERE to read about the shortage in the Navy.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Eyes toward heaven

Today's priests must focus on multiple worldly activities on a regular basis, whether that means writing a meaningful homily, figuring out parish finances or dealing with an air-conditioner that doesn't work. But one of their key roles role is to keep the focus on God amid the flurry of human activities, both for his parishioners and himself. So writes Bishop Robert Vasa of Bend, Ore., in a July 9 reflection on the Year for Priests in the Catholic Sentinel.

Bishop Vasa writes: "This recognition that all depends on God and on prayer may not be consistent with our life experience. It may seem that any good that has been done or accomplished has been the result of careful human planning, diligent human work, clever human ingenuity, scintillating human personality, or wondrous human creativity. There is no doubt that these are all useful and valuable. They may even, of their own, produce great human or secular results. Yet, if we believe St. John of the Cross, 'without prayer, all they do amounts to nothing more than noise and uproar; it is like a hammer banging on an anvil and echoing over the neighborhood.' The sad reality is that most of us, myself included, would rather hear the banging of a hammer on an anvil because it sounds like a great deal of progress is being made. Perhaps one of the important roles of the priest is to help assure that while the anvil hammering goes on it is always done in the context of God and prayer. One portion of the definition of a priest could include 'the man who prays' or perhaps a little better, 'the man of prayer.'"

Click HERE to read the entire reflection.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Priests share vital connection

A Colorado priest took the term "gift of self" literally when he donated a kidney to a fellow priest. Catholic News Service has the story of Father Steven Voss, parochial vicar at Spirit of Christ Parish in Arvada, Colo., who received a kidney from Father Matt Hartley, parochial vicar of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Northglenn, Colo, a few months ago.

Father Voss, whose struggled with health problems since he was 1, praised Father Hartley's selfless decision. "To know another person is willing to offer a part of themselves to sustain your existence is an overwhelming gesture of Christ's love," he said. "Father Matt and I will always share a special bond because of this event, one that was formed through a profound experience of participating in Christ's love."

Click HERE to read the entire inspirational story.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Priest at helm of Bible society

Boston Globe reporter Michael Paulson recently reported on the Massachusetts Bible Society, which is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year, and its efforts to reinvent itself in the age Facebook, Twitter and other technological advances. Click HERE to read his story.
What's particularly interesting for Catholics is the fact that a priest, Father Walter H. Cuenin, is the society's president. He told Paulson that he joined the society because he thought it was important to have Catholic involvement in an organization that for a long time was Protestant-only. 

Thursday, July 2, 2009

True 'Waterfront' priest

News of actor Karl Malden's death July 1 at the age of 97 had commentators listing his various acting credits, including his powerhouse performance Father Peter Barry in the 1954 film "On The Waterfront." Malden was nominated for his performance as Father Barry, who was the moral voice of the film about violence and corruption among longshoreman.
It turns out that Father Barry's character was inspired by a real priest — Jesuit Father John Corridan, as Jesuit Father James Martin explains in his blog post on America magazine's website. 
Click HERE to read Father Martin's post about Father Corridan and a short piece about his life's work.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Priestly mission: Complete identification with ministry

Pope Benedict XVI laid out the essential elements of the priestly ministry in his general audience today, using the life of St. John Vianney and his "complete identification with his ministry" as an example.
"The goal of priests' mission is, we could say, 'of worship': that all men and women may offer themselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, receiving the charity which they are then called to dispense abundantly to one another. ... Love for others, concern for justice and the poor are not so much a question of social morals as the expression of a sacramental conception of Christian morality because, through priestly ministry, the spiritual sacrifice of all the faithful is accomplished, in union with the sacrifice of Christ, the only mediator, he told the faithful gathered at St. Peter's Square in Rome. "This is the sacrifice that priests offer bloodlessly and sacramentally while awaiting the second coming of the Lord."