THE AMAZING GIFT of the PRIESTHOOD

Eight Perfect Gift Ideas for Priests (Not Crucifix or Saint Statues)
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By the Christian community? Chosen perhaps by himself? Already when the Second Vatican Council was being celebrated, as we do on the present occasion, it seemed useless and even foolish to pose a question like this which can only receive the same and always invariable Catholic response.

The one who chooses him is also the same who consecrates him and sends him:. These ministers in the society of the faithful would be able by the sacred power of their order to offer sacrifice and to remit sins. They would perform their priestly office publicly for men in the name of Christ. Schillebeeckx in his work on ecclesial ministry Kerkelijk ambt. Voorgangers in de gemeente van Jezus Christus, Bloemendall, , in which he upholds the thesis that a layman chosen by a Christian community to be leader or director is by that very fact rendered capable of presiding at the eucharistic celebration; cf.

De sociale context van de verschuivingen in het kerkelijk ambt, in Tijdschrift voor Theologie 22 , In his new work on the same theme Pleidooi voor mensen in de Kerk.

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Christelijke identiteit in de Kerk, Baarn, ; cf. Per una Chiesa dal volto umano, Brescia, , Schillebeeckx somewhat reformulates his position, even if serious difficulties remain on the idea which he maintains with regard to the relationship between ordained ministry and apostolic succession. As is well known, the theses of the Dutch Dominican were rejected by the Magisterium cf. In emphasizing the divine institution of the ministerial priesthood or of the presbyterate, to which the Council text actually refers , the accent falls on the divine calling of the priest. He is not, therefore, a delegate of the community before God, nor a functionary or employee of God before the people.

He is a man chosen by God from among men in order to realize the mystery of salvation in the name of Christ. Such an overly democratizing conception of the Church, as was pointed out in an important symposium convened at the Vatican in , 45 can arise only from a defective view of the very nature of the Church. Even if this is not sensed to be a problem as such by the majority of the Christian people, certainly this conception is being disseminated in particular circles in Central Europe and North America.

Nevertheless, the majority of the faithful, even those who lack solid doctrinal formation, have a Catholic sensus Ecclesiae, consistent with revealed doctrine, as well as a clear awareness of the distinction between priests and laity by reason of the sacrament of orders. They do not, therefore, pose problems with regard to the hierarchical nature of the Church because they well know that Christ has willed it so. Today, this is a serious problem, very closely related to so called functionalism, which consists, in the words of the Directory for the Ministry and Life of Priests, in: "An erroneous mentality which reduces the ministerial priesthood to strictly functional aspects.

To merely play the role of the priest, carrying out a few services and ensuring completion of various tasks would make up the entire priestly existence. Such a reductive conception of the identity of the ministry of the priest risks pushing their lives towards an emptiness, an emptiness which often comes to be filled by lifestyles not consonant with their very ministry.

For a brief synopsis of the content, cf. Sacrum Ministerium 1 , Although chosen by God to perform the priestly function under official auspices, in the name of Christ, priests clearly are something more than mere holders of a public office and sacred exercise in service to the community of the faithful. The priesthood "is essentially and above all a configuration, a mysterious and sacramental transformation of the person of the man-priest into the person of Christ himself, the only Mediator.

Through these same apostles He made their successors, the bishops, sharers in His consecration and mission. Their ministerial role has been handed down to priests in a limited degree. Thus established in the order of the priesthood, they are co-workers of the episcopal order in the proper fulfillment of the apostolic mission entrusted to the latter order by Christ. In this way, the presbyteral priesthood was well situated within the context of the communion of the episcopal college, in a perspective of great theological and spiritual richness.

Crusade Meditations

Since these aspects will certainly be treated in a more detailed manner in other interventions of this symposium, I shall limit my presentation to commenting only on one point of the conciliar passage quoted above, which I consider essential to grasp and to defend in our historical context. I refer to the question of apostolic succession and the ordained ministry. The whole Church is apostolic insofar as she inherits and continues the Church of the apostles.

And within the Church, the ordained ministry the episcopal ministry and the presbyteral ministry as its collaborator inherits and continues the ministry of the apostles. Such ministry, willed by Christ, is essential for the Church; and through her mediation, the salvific act of the Lord is made present sacramentally and historically for all generations. The spiritual power which the ordained ministry possesses does not, in fact, derive from the community, but from the apostolicity of its mission, transmitted through the sacramental imposition of hands.

Ordained ministry is established on the foundation of the apostles, for the upbuilding of the Church Ephesians ; Revelation and for the life of the world. The presbyteral priesthood was instituted to build up and to give vitality to the Church, in which and for which it exists. It is in this sense that John Paul II has written: "Consequently, the ordained priesthood ought not to be thought of as existing prior to the Church, because it is totally at the service of the Church. Nor should it be considered as posterior to the ecclesial community, as if the Church could be imagined as already established without this priesthood.

The ontological configuration of the presbyter to Christ the priest through the sacramental character of orders was expressed by the Council in a traditional formula: agere in persona Christi capitis, 53 and consequently, in persona Ecclesiae, inasmuch as Christ the Head and his Body form a unity. This formula theologically designates the capacity to act as "representative" of Christ and of the Church.

Luke The formula agere in persona Christi capitis thus allows us to express exactly the essence of the ministerial condition as capacity to participate, through the reception of the sacrament of orders, in the actions proper to Christ, Head and Shepherd, in regard to the Church. The basis of this participation is the power received, while its purpose is to make salvation present, here and now through specific actions Ministerium verbi et sacramentorum , as the life of the Church and, through the Church, the life of the world.

One can observe, then, in this formula the sacramentality of the specific actions of the ordained ministry with respect to the life of the Church. The ministerial image of the priest makes full reference to this sacramentality, in that "while the priest is in the Church, he is also set in front of it. Through the ministerial priesthood the Church becomes aware in faith that her being comes not from herself but from the grace of Christ in the Holy Spirit. Therefore, only in the performance of their specific mission, realized in the light of the mystery of Christ and of the communion of the Church, will priests be able to find their proper identity.

In Christ the priest, the worship reserved to the Father and the announcement of the Gospel among men, his brothers, constitute a single reality of salvation. And, in an analogous manner, the Council will say to priests that they are configured to Christ and are able to act as his representatives and in his name and that, therefore, "God gives them the grace to be ministers of Christ Jesus among the people.

Eight Perfect Gift Ideas for Priests (Not Crucifix or Saint Statues)

They shoulder the sacred task of the gospel, so that the offering of the people can be made acceptable through the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. Beginning with the normative reference to the priestly existence of Christ and of the apostles, the Decree speaks forcefully of the needed evangelizing presence of priests among men: "Hence they deal with other men as with brothers. This was the way that the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, a man sent by the Father to men, dwelt among us and willed to become like His brothers in all things except sin.

But this is so, not that they may be separated from this people or from any man, but that they may be totally dedicated to the work for which the Lord has raised them up. They cannot be ministers of Christ unless they are witnesses and dispensers of a life other than this earthly one. But they cannot be of service to men if they remain strangers to the life and conditions of men.

Their ministry itself by a special title forbids them to be conformed to this world. Yet at the same time this ministry requires that they live in this world among men. I refer to their valid entry into the social life of the community, into the ordinary life of men. But at the same time, the lay person wants to see in the priest a witness to the things to come, to the sacred, to eternal life, a man who knows how to gather and to teach the laity, with fraternal care, about the supernatural dimension of their existence, the divine destiny of their life, the transcendent reasons for their thirst for happiness: in a word, a man of God.

If I may, I would like to be permitted, before concluding, one final brief consideration on the image of the priest outlined by the Council. The three essential theological features just now presented must be integrated with a deep need for the ascetical order: sanctity through the spirituality specific to the priesthood. In the third chapter of Presbyterorum Ordinis, concretely in the first article dedicated to the call of priests to perfection, we find another aspect of the conciliar image upon which we are reflecting. In these passages, in my view, our Decree reaches its summit.

If we take account of the fact that what undergirds the entire Council is promoting a renewal of the Church capable of propelling her toward a more effective evangelization of society, it is useful to observe that in these pages dedicated to priestly sanctity the same spirit resonates with particular vigor. It is worth listening: "This most holy Synod desires to achieve its pastoral goals of renewal within the Church, of the spread of the gospel throughout the world, and of dialogue with the modern world.

It is a perfection which priests, like all the baptized, are called to reach in accord with the will and the gifts of God, but for priests this carries a particular obligation due to their own sacramental configuration to Christ since they work in his name as his representatives. From this it follows that from the beginning the Decree stresses an essential aspect: the priest is called to reach sanctity through the exercise of his own ministerial functions, which not only demand of him this commitment to perfection, but promote it and foster it.

The call to holiness and the exercise of the ministry reciprocally restore and sustain each other in the priesthood. The sacramental gift which the Spirit has infused in the priest demands, by means of a dynamic proper to him, intimate union with Christ and sanctity of life.

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By performing his proper ministry according to the example of Christ, whose food was to do the will of the Father, the priest reaches unity of life, that is, the desirable union and harmony between his interior life and his duties, so often disparate, which derive from his own pastoral ministry. Theological reflection on such a notion of unity of life requires that one take into consideration another concept no less important, which the Council mentioned in relation to the first: the notion of "pastoral charity," on which there has since been so much reflection and teaching in the Church.

We cannot now linger any longer on this, but as confirmation of its centrality in the priestly image outlined by Presbyterorum Ordinis, let it suffice to recall some words of the recent Directory developed by the Congregation for the Clergy: "Pastoral charity constitutes the internal and dynamic principle capable of uniting the multiple and diverse pastoral activities of the priest and, given the socio-cultural and religious context in which he lives, is an indispensable instrument for drawing men to a life in Grace.

Informed by such charity, the ministerial activity must be a manifestation of the charity of Christ. With this charity the priest will demonstrate in his bearing and conduct the total self-giving of himself to the flock with which he has been entrusted. It seems to me that it is to this notion of pastoral charity, even before other ecclesiological and eschatological reasons, that one attaches the Christological reason for perfect and perpetual continence for the kingdom of heaven, which, while not demanded by the very nature of the priesthood, "with respect to priestly life, the Church has always held in especially high regard.

They more easily hold fast to Him with undivided heart. They more freely devote themselves in Him and through Him to the service of God and men. They more readily minister to His kingdom and to the work of heavenly regeneration, and thus become more apt to exercise paternity in Christ, and do so to a greater extent. We returned to the Decree in order to search its pages for the image of the priest it has bequeathed us, but reading from our precise ecclesial and socio-cultural situation, in which, along with the lights and the needs of all time, there appear the typical characteristics of the present times.

In the light of these documents the present times speak to us, above all, of fidelity and development, of continuity and realization. The Second Vatican Council, as we have repeated in various points of this presentation, came to light in the Church with a call to renewal and evangelization. And it is certain that, at a distance of three decades from its conclusion, there are so many easily perceivable signs of the positive influence of its spiritual and pastoral dynamism.

The conciliar spirit of renewal, under the providential guidance of the Roman Pontiffs who have succeeded to the See of Peter, has imbued liturgical life, canonical norms, and catechetical instruction during these years. The Church has truly renewed her doctrine, her legislation, and her life in accordance with Vatican II, and is ready to pursue her apostolic mission at the lofty level that the times demand. Moreover, the Church has been engaged for some years, at the impetus of John Paul II, in an enterprise of evangelization, 72 which must be, in the words of the same Pope, "new in ardor, methods, and expression," 73 and which, by this fact, "demands priests who are deeply and fully immersed in the mystery of Christ and capable of embodying a new style of pastoral life.

Beginning, then, with the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and its doctrine on priests, so faithfully developed by the postconciliar Magisterium, we now look ahead with the Pope to this "new springtime of Christian life" 75 which is announced in advance with the proximity of the third millennium and which will become reality "if Christians are docile to the action of the Holy Spirit. The direction pointed out to the Church universal for the immediate future by John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente, leads through "a renewed commitment to apply, as faithfully as possible, the teachings of Vatican II to the life of every individual and of the whole Church.

The incarnation of the Son of God attests that God goes in search of man. To seek out men, to encounter them with the offer and the gifts of our role of service: to this we ministers of Jesus Christ have been called by our specificity as priests. The history of salvation is structured around the binomial word-sacrament, memory-celebration, on which priestly existence must also hinge. The sacramental moment, constitutive and foundational, must be accompanied by the word of the life of each person, by the Christian witness of faith, hope, and charity.

The priest, man of faith, especially must have, and show forth, a distinctly Christological outlook. Impersonating Christ in virtue of the sacrament of orders, the priest must be and must manifest a sacramental actualization of the presence of Christ, the center of history, "the one savior of the world, yesterday, today and forever. The priest, man of hope, must help men to discover the authentic key to interpret the future. The priest, man of charity, in love with God and his ministry, and fully identified with its tasks, must be capable of pointing all toward the Father, source of every gift, source of the infinite love which never fails.

We priests must be perceptibly a living word of faith, hope, and charity. And this requires a full personal availability to translate into effective witness, that which, already from the beginning, is a sacramental reality. Without such personal availability the life of a priest will never evangelize. Quite the contrary, the priest would turn out to be only an efficacious but inert instrument of grace for those who are already in Christ. As a result of his full availability to be bearer and icon of Christ, Head and Shepherd, among his brothers, the image of the priest acquires a necessarily Marian contour.

Together with Mary, the fiat, not only pronounced but lived, transforms the life and ministry of the priest into a powerful force that urges the Church and the world toward the Trinity. Most Reverend Carmelo J Giaquinta 2. The image of the priest in Pastores Dabo Vobis is found fundamentally in chapter II of the postsynodal apostolic exhortation, dedicated to the Nature and Mission of the Ministerial Priesthood.

The topic includes an existential question of major interest: how ought the priest today concretize his own existence and own ministry? This topic requires the consideration of other elements. First, the occasion and the purpose for which the synod was convened: "the formation of priests in the present situation. Third, it is absolutely necessary to recall that the exhortation is none other than a new step of the self-consciousness on the subject that the Holy Spirit has given rise to, above all after the Council. The exhortation underscores the origin of every gift, also of that of the priesthood, in the mysterious unity of the Trinity.

To understand the ministerial priesthood it will be necessary to compare it directly with the mystery of Christ. The relationship with Christ, head and shepherd is found in numbers , that between the priest and the Church in n. Peter Welsh. To live the priestly identity fully, it is necessary that the ideal corresponds to the way of acting: the exterior image ought to correspond to the interior and vice versa. The subject of a lifestyle, which is found principally in numbers 3 and 18, has been most neglected in recent decades and, therefore, ought to be stressed now.

It is necessary also, at this historic moment, to focus attention strongly on everything that pertains to the radicalism of the priest, the radicalism which is demonstrated through the practice of the evangelical counsels. Such practice makes its mark profoundly on the interior and exterior life of the priest. This has not always been that way. In the past in seminaries there was discussion on chastity, poverty, and obedience but not always in direct connection with the counsels, as if these were imported from religious life.

An important aspect of the priestly image is "the particular bonds of apostolic charity and of fraternity. There has been a confusion between the communitarian life of the priest and that of the religious. Many times this confusion causes rejection. It does not seem that this was the intention of the Lord when he formed the group of the Twelve around himself: they were the new patriarchs for the governing of the twelve tribes of the new Israel.

The collegiality of the apostles, which the council highlights to rediscover episcopal collegiality, today is able to inspire fraternal forms of life among the bishop and his priests, and among priests themselves. On January 31, , the Congregation for the Clergy published the Directory for the Ministry and Life of Priests, a document of great interest and usefulness which offers a magnificent synthesis of the principal questions, dealing with this subject, treated by the conciliar and postconciliar Magisterium. From the overall picture and the individual chapters there emerges a clearly delineated figure of the priest.

It is essentially identical to that offered by the conciliar decree and by the postconciliar apostolic exhortation. Nevertheless it has specific characteristics which are derived principally from the particular goals of the Directory. The document wishes to respond to the principal questions both of the doctrinal and of the disciplinary and pastoral orders, posed to priests by the task of the new evangelization cf Directory, n. It also treats of the text conceived and elaborated with an eminently practical goal: to give priests precise help, offering them light and guidance on central questions of their ministry and life.

The Directory begins with the following words taken from Pastores Dabo Vobis: "Today, in particular, the pressing pastoral task of the new evangelization, that involves all the People of God and requires new fervor, new methods and a new expression for the proclaiming and witnessing of the Gospel, needs priests who are deeply and fully immersed in the mystery of Christ and capable of embodying a new style of pastoral life" PDV, n.

This is the horizon in which the Directory is placed and in which it ought to be read: a horizon of renewal to the service of the mission of the Church. Speaking realistically of the life and pastoral ministry of priests, what does it mean to say: to be a priest "radically and integrally immersed in the mystery of Christ and capable of realizing a new style of pastoral life"?

The apostolic exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis had certainly outlined the beautiful figure of the priest of our time, who immersed in the mystery of Christ and of the Church, dedicates himself effectively to his work in the service of all men, and especially of his brothers of the faith. What are its essential traits?

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The chapter reserved for priestly identity constitutes a complete synthesis of the different levels on which the light of the mystery of Christ the priest is projected on the ministry and the life of priests. The document calls these dimensions trinitarian dimension, christological dimension, pneumatological dimension, ecclesiological dimension , and develops them, with extraordinary depth, above all, beginning with the notion of consecration and of mission, along the line of the tradition inherited from Presbyterorum Ordinis.

Always in the context in the chapter reserved for the identity of the priest, of which an essential part is his being in the Church, like the other faithful, and at the same time being in front of the Church, as minister of the word and of the sacraments for the service of others cf. Directory n. The text of the second chapter, entirely reserved to priestly spirituality, allows certain strong ideas to shine forth clearly.

The principal of these on which the others are based, consists in highlighting, as a specific path of priests toward holiness, the unity and inseparability between the spiritual life and the exercise of ministry. The document also warns against the dangers which derive from activism, from functionalism, or in general from the lack of unity in the life of the priest, which renders his works sterile. The document treats ongoing formation beginning from its theological base, which is as a "need which begins and develops from the moment of receiving the Sacrament of Holy Orders" PDV, n. The importance of ongoing formation is also clearly expressed: it consists in "helping all priests respond generously to the commitment demanded by the dignity and the responsibility which God conferred upon them through the sacrament of Orders; in guarding and defending, and developing their specific identity and vocation; and in sanctifying themselves and others through the exercise of their ministry" PDV, n.

That is to say, in harmony with what has been affirmed previously, what is sought with ongoing formation is to help the priest to "avoid any dualism between spirituality and ministry" PDV, n. Experience shows that the application of those proposals and guidelines constitutes a great help for the particular Churches, for their pastors and for their priests, in the endeavor to prepare those new heralds of the gospel who, with the words of the Holy Father taken from the Directory, "are the priests who strive to live their priesthood as a specific way to holiness" PDV, n.

Most Reverend Viadas Michelevicius 2. Who is the priest? What is his identity? As the Holy Father said to newly ordained priests, the first response is "we are called. It is Jesus who takes the initiative. He points this out: "You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you" John. With the sacrament of orders the priest becomes qualified to lend to Jesus his voice, his hands all his being. In this way Jesus himself, through the ministry of priests, celebrates the Holy Mass, forgives sins, announces the word of God.

This gift of the priesthood is a marvel which is realized in us but not for us. It was given for the Church. The priest is therefore one who is sent. Here is a new essential connotation of the priestly identity. Therefore: we are called, we are consecrated, we are sent. This triple identity clearly illustrates the true image of the priest as dispenser of the divine mysteries cf. It is not the world which determines his status, as though it depended on changing needs or ideas about social roles.

The priest is marked with the seal of the Priesthood of Christ, in order to share in his function as the one Mediator and Redeemer. So, because of this fundamental bond, there opens before the priest the immense field of the service of souls, for their salvation in Christ and in the Church.

Gift #12: The GIFT of Priesthood!

That is what makes Fr. Today, this is a serious problem, very closely related to so called functionalism, which consists, in the words of the Directory for the Ministry and Life of Priests, in: "An erroneous mentality which reduces the ministerial priesthood to strictly functional aspects. God bless you Fr. EV, 9, Monsignor Alfonso Crespo Hidalgo 2. The Synod of Bishops on the Consecrated Life October affirms that there is a fundamental interdependence between consecration and mission.

This does not mean in any way that the priest can remain remote from the human concerns of the laity: he must be very near to them, as Jean Marie Vianney was, but as a priest, always in a perspective which is that of their salvation and of the progress of the Kingdom of God. It is essential to the Church that the identity of the priest be safeguarded, with its vertical dimension! On September 3,, in Turin, the Holy Father, speaking about priests as living models of ministerial holiness, among other things said:.

The dominant mark of his life and of his mission is found in his very strong sense of identity as a catholic priest according to the heart of Christ, Don Bosco was priest at the altar, priest in the confessional, priest in the midst of his young people, and as he was priest in Turin, so he was priest in Florence, priest in the home of the poor, priest in the palace of the King and of the Ministers.

Today it is necessary to underline this reality: the priest is the one who transmits divine life to men. Just as Don Bosco has said:. Vatican Council II presents the life of the Church as a pilgrimage of faith. Each one of us has a special part in this pilgrimage.

As stewards of the mysteries of God, we ought to possess a maturity of faith appropriate to our vocation and to our tasks. According to Saint Paul in his letter to the Christians of Corinth: "You should consider us as servants of Christ and stewards of the secrets of God. Now it is of course required of a steward that he be trustworthy" 1 Corinthians Memorie biografiche 6, In this union of Holy Thursday we find Him once more and at the same time through Him, with Him and in Him, we find ourselves We attempt now to gather in a necessarily synthetic manner the fundamental lines of the identity, spirituality, and mission of the priest: from the mystery of the redemption of Christ is born a new people called to partake, through the effusion of the Spirit, the same divine life and to live in history the mission of Jesus Christ.

Here is the royal priesthood of the People of God: but so that this royal priesthood may be able to generate itself, to be regenerated and realized in the heart of the Christian, the hierarchical and ministerial priesthood is necessary. The priesthood in which we share through the Sacrament of Orders, which has been forever imprinted on our souls through a special sign from God, that is to say the character, remains in explicit relationship with the common priesthood of the faithful, and, at the same time, it differs from it essentially and not only in degree Letter, Holy Thursday is every year the day of the birth of the Eucharist, and at the same time the birthday of our priesthood, which is above all ministerial and at the same time hierarchical.

It is ministerial, because by virtue of Holy Orders we perform in the Church that service which it is given only to priests to perform, first of all the service of the Eucharist. It is also hierarchical, because this service enables us, by serving, to guide pastorally the individual communities of the People of God The priesthood is completely at the service of this life, it bears witness to it through the service of the Word, it generates it, regenerates it and spreads it abroad through the service of the sacraments.

Before all else the priest himself lives this life, which is the deepest source of his maturity and also the guarantee of the spiritual fruitfulness of his whole service! Called in the Church by the Spirit to stand in the forefront of the Church as Pastores Dabo vobis records for us, the priest is called above all to live this new ontology of his life, belonging unconditionally to Christ, assimilating in the imitation of Christ the fundamental criteria of judgment and the fundamental movement of the heart which is charity.

The prayer of the priest, in its various forms, totally involves the heart of priestly existence with the presence of the Lord and daily raises the existence of the priest to the greatness and inconceivable dignity contained in the yes of Simon Peter: "Lord, you know that I love you. From this new ontology, lived personally with integral dedication to the mystery of Christ present, is born pastoral charity, the intense love for Christians because the people of God exist objectively! It is by means of the celebration of the sacraments, first of all, that of the Eucharist, that the Christian people continually come to be generated, regenerated and educated to their mission.

With an opportune series of catechetical initiatives this Christian people should be helped to assume a more profound consciousness of the definitiveness of the gift of faith and helped. Therefore it is necessary that the priest form in the Christian people a new mentality, " This capacity of a new mentality expresses itself in history as charity in the tension towards an inexorable proclamation of Christ which gives every detail and every action of human existence dignity and merit. The priest, who lives the new life of Christ in himself, is the instrument of communication of this life inseparable from the Spirit, and is actively involved in the maturation of this life in the people.

This drama of the love for Christ together with the love for the brothers is developed by way of reference to the mother of the Lord. The lack of time does not allow us to quote in detail the many beautiful passages of the Holy Thursday letter of ; let this suffice: " Let us take Mary as Mother into the interior home of our priesthood Permit me to conclude this talk for you by reading a short extract of one of the most lofty pages of the entire teaching of John Paul II, drawn from number 10 of Redemptor Hominis: " It is also called Christianity.

So that this wonder becomes a human and therefore historic mission, Holy Orders is necessary: here lies the entire dignity, the greatness, the sacrifice, the joy of our priestly service. We have to deal responsibly with the fact of the ongoing crisis which, in the seventies, unsettled the priestly world and, with surprising persistence still continues to unsettle it. The rushed pace of change from one cultural model to another, from modernity to the crisis of its myths reason, science, progress, democracy which gives life to the so-called postmodern era, from a religiosity that is partially remote to its basic reasons, to its secularization and, its leap into the arms of the postchristian era with the loss even of the extrinsic relationship mentioned before, could only upset and obscure the vision of the priesthood.

There was an effort to reshape a new priestly identity that took place in a piecemeal fashion. The meetings at Chur, Switzerland , Geneva , Rome and were useful stages. At the time everyone thought that there was no need to shape a new identity but the need was to learn how to live in a new social context. Paul VI, of venerable memory, convened the third assembly of the synod of bishops , with adequate preparation of all the issues in the hope of giving a focus to the issues and moving them towards a solution. At the same time many works of considerable theological import were published examining the genesis of the priesthood and its sacramental foundations.

It was necessary to reestablish a vital contact for the priest, caught in the grip of his crisis, with the origins of the Christian priesthood. Through that contact, which is really contact with Christ and with his sacramental continuity in and for the life of the Church, one would recover:. The sacramental nature of Holy Orders in its three grades episcopacy, priesthood, diaconate in order to reverse the reduction of the priesthood to its ministerial dimension and to view the ministry as a simple community delegation to specialized functionaries R.

Bunnik, S. Schoonenberg, J. Moingt, I. Flamand ;. The indelibility of character, sometimes was not presented in accord with the rich scholastic-tridentine theology of an "interior sign," and "impression and inherence in the soul. Muhlen , demystifying E. Schillebeeckx and desacralizing view advanced by a large group of theologians who are liberal in their attitude toward the ecclesiastical Magisterium;.

These are recoveries of great importance. Meanwhile the transformation of the modern era and its movement into the postmodern era on every front of the predominant culture is clear to everyone.

Here we face the problem of how to accelerate the translation of the recovered teaching on the priesthood into applicable forms. Theology did its part, justifying the new presentation of the teaching in the light of revelation and of its statute as the science of faith. I refer to valuable and persuasive interventions, converging on the same goal. I wish to mention among others, J. Coppens, G.

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Rambaldi, A. How can I best bring Jesus to them? I will learn them and they learn me. Joseph side of the church, loud applause erupted and spread throughout the cathedral, as the faithful expressed their joyful gratitude and affirmation of those about to be ordained. We all are. The reading from the Old Testament recounted the calling of the prophet Jeremiah and his hesitancy to accept the call because of his youth. God told him to have no fear and assured Jeremiah that He would be with him. After the homily, those to be ordained knelt before Bishop Rhoades to promise respect and obedience to him and his successors.

The Gift of the Priesthood: Parents of the Called

They then prostrated before the altar for the Litany of Supplication. After this solemn act of prayer, the men rose and each knelt before the Bishop who imposed his hands on their heads. While all the priests present individually laid their hands on the heads of the elect, the choir chanted the ancient hymn Veni Sancte Spiritus, asking God for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and His gifts.

It was beautiful to watch each older priest and spiritual father, lay his hands and bless the next, new generation of priests, each a familiar, known and beloved face to the lay faithful. After the prayer, the newly ordained priests were vest in the stole and chasuble by Monsignors William Schooler and Michael Heintz. The hands of the new priests were then anointed with the sacred chrism by Bishop Rhoades, the sign of the special anointing of the Holy Spirit who will make their ministry fruitful.

The Rite of Ordination ended with the bishop giving a fraternal kiss of peace to each new priest, welcoming them into the diocesan presbyterate or priesthood. The joy and gratitude of the great gift could be felt throughout the Cathedral. The Liturgy of the Eucharist then followed. Our new priests joined all the priests for the first time in concelebrating the Eucharist with the bishop, reciting together the words of consecration. For the first time, they offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, acting in the person of Christ.

From this sacrifice their whole priestly ministry will draw its strength. After the ordination Mass, a light rain fell outside the Cathedral. This is for the hipster parish priest who wants some cool ink, but perhaps is afraid to commit to permanent tattoos. Maybe your priest loves to read? Perhaps your parish priest loves to paint?

Wrap the bottle s up with these festive ugly wine sweaters. Invite your parish priest over to a homemade meal and board game night. Every priest needs encouragement, support, and further formation. This collection of letters from Pope St. John Paul II are designed to speak to the heart and soul of a priest who is entrenched in the daily grind of ministry. You can find it at your local Catholic bookstore and online here.