armaghpriest
by armaghpriest.com on November 28th, 2018

On November 24th 2018, in the Consistory Hall of the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience the seminarians of the diocese of Agrigento.

After handing those present the address he had prepared for the occasion, the Pope addressed some impromptu remarks to them.

The following are the Holy Father’s impromptu address and the text prepared for the occasion:


Impromptu Address of the Holy Father


There is a prepared address, with the icon of the disciples of Emmaus, that you can read at home calmly, and reflect upon in peace. I will hand it to the Rector. I feel more at ease speaking a little more spontaneously.

In that address, the last word was “mission”. I liked what the Rector said about the horizon of Albania. Because mission, it is true, is something in which the Spirit drives us to go out, to go out, always to go out; but if there is not the apostolic horizon, there is the danger of making a mistake and going out not to bear a message but to go for a “stroll”, that is to go out in the wrong way. Instead of making a journey of strength, of coming out of oneself, it means going around in a maze, where one never succeeds in finding the way, or one takes the wrong road. “How can I be sure that my apostolic outgoing is what the Lord wants, what the Lord wants from me, both in formation and afterwards?”. There is the bishop! The bishop is the one who on behalf of the Lord says: “This is the road”. You can go to the bishop and say, “I feel this”, and he will discern if it is that or not. But definitely, the one who gives the mission is the bishop. Why do I say this? One cannot live the priesthood without a mission. The bishop does not only give a task: “Take care of this parish”, like a bank manager hands out jobs to the workers. No. The bishop gives a mission. “Sanctify those people, bring Christ to those people”. It is another level. Therefore, dialogue with the bishop is important. This is where I want to arrive, at dialogue with the bishop.

The bishop must know you as you are: each person has their own personality, their own way of feeling, their own way of thinking, their own virtues, their own faults… The bishop is a father: he is the father who helps grown, the father who prepares for the mission. And the better the bishop knows the priest, the lesser the danger of making a mistake in the mission he will give. One cannot be a good priest without a filial dialogue with the bishop. This is non-negotiable, as some like to say. “No, I am worker of the Church”. That is mistaken. Here there is a bishop, not an assembly where a place is negotiated. There is a father who makes unity: in this way Jesus wanted things to be. A father who makes unity. It is beautiful when Paul writes to Titus, to Titus whom he left in Crete to “sort things out”. And he tells him the virtues of priests, of the bishop and of the laity, also of the deacons. But he leaves the bishop to arrange things: to arrange them in the Spirit, which is not the same as arranging them in an organizational chart. The Church is not an organizational chart. It is true that at times we use an organizational chart to be more functional, but the Church goes beyond the organization, it is another thing: it is life, life “arranged” in the Holy Spirit.

And who is in the place of the father? The bishop. He is not the owner of a business, the bishop, no. He is not the one who commands: “here I am in charge”, some obey, others pretend to obey and others do not do anything. No, the bishop is the father, he is fruitful, it is he who generates the mission. This word mission, which I wished to take, is loaded, it is loaded with the will of Jesus, it is loaded with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, I urge you, from the Seminary learn to see in the bishop the father who is placed there to help you grow, to go ahead and to accompany you in the moments of your apostolate: in the beautiful moments, and in the ugly moments, but always to accompany you: in moments of success, in the moments of defeat you will always have in life, all of them… This is something very, very important.

Another thing, that of the vase of clay. I liked to take Jeremiah. He says: when the vase does not turn out well, the potter remakes it. While he is making the vase and there is something that does not work, there is time to redo and restart everything; but once it is fired… Please, let yourselves be formed. What the formators ask for are not whims. If you are not in agreement, speak about it. But be men, not children, men, courageous, and say it to the rector: “I do not agree with this, I don’t understand it”. This is important, to say what you feel. In this way one forms one’s personality, to be truly a vessel full of grace. But if you remain silent and do not engage in dialogue, if you do not say your difficulties, if you do not describe your apostolic anxieties and all that you want, a silent man, once he is “fired”, cannot be changed. And all life is like that. It is true that at times it is not pleasant when the potter intervenes in a decisive way, but it is for your own good. Let yourselves be formed, let yourselves be formed. Before firing, because that way you will be good.

And then, another two things. What is the spirituality of the diocesan clergy? As that priest used to say to the religious, “I have the spirituality of the religious congregation that Saint Peter founded”. The spirituality of the diocesan clergy, what is it? It is “diocesanity”. “Diocesanity” has three forms, three relationships. The first is the relationship with the bishop, but I have already spoken enough about that. The first relationship: one cannot be a good diocesan priest without the relationship with the bishop. Second: the relationship with the presbytery. Friendship between you. It is true that one cannot be close friends with everyone, because we are not equal, but good brothers yes, who care about each other. And what is the sign that in a presbytery there is brotherhood, there is fraternity? What is the sign? When there is no gossip. Gossip, the gossip is the plague of the presbytery. If you have something against him, say it to his face. Say it man to man. But do not talk behind his back: this is not what a man does. I am not saying it is not of a spiritual man, no, it is simply not of a man. When there is no gossip in a presbytery, when that door is closed, what happens? Well, there is a bit of noise, in meetings people say things directly, “I don’t agree!”, perhaps they raise their voices… but like brothers! At home, we brothers argue like that. But in truth. And then, caring for your brothers, wishing each other well. “Yes, Father, but you know, I don’t like that other one”. But there are also many I don’t like, and there will be someone who doesn’t like me, this is a natural thing in life, but the level of our consecration leads us to something else, to be harmonious, to be in harmony. This is a grace you must ask of the Holy Spirit. “Ipse harmonia est”, He is harmony. It seems a bit strange, the Holy Spirit, because with the charisms – because you are all different – He creates, let’s put it this way, disorder: everyone different. But then He has the power to make that disorder into a richer order, with many different charisms that do not annul the personality of each one. The Holy Spirit is He Who makes unity: the unity of the presbytery.

And then, two other things. What is the spirituality of the diocesan clergy? As the priest said to the religious: "I have the spirituality of the religious congregation that founded Saint Peter". The spirituality of the diocesan clergy, what is it? It is diocesanity. Diocesanity has three addresses, three relationships. The first is the relationship with the bishop, but I have already talked about it sufficiently. The first report: one can not be a good diocesan priest without the relationship with the bishop. Second: the relationship in the presbytery. Friendship among you. It is true that one can not be a close friend of everyone, because we are not equal, but good brothers, yes, that they love each other. And what is the sign that in a presbytery there is brotherhood, is there fraternity? What is the sign? When there is no talk. The chatter, the chatter is the plague of the presbytery. If you have something against him, say it in your face. Dilla from man to man. But do not speak badly: this is not for men! I do not say from a spiritual man, no, it's not just a man. When there is no chatter in a presbytery, when that door is closed, what happens? Well, there is a bit 'of noise, in the meetings you say things in the face, "I do not agree!", A little raises his voice ... But as brothers! At home, we brothers quarreled like that. But in the truth. And then, take care of the brothers, love each other. "Yes, Father, but you know, that other dislike me ...". But I too have many who dislike me and I dislike someone else, this is a natural thing of life, but the level of our consecration leads us to something else, to be harmonious, in harmony. This is a grace that you must ask the Holy Spirit. That phrase of St. Basil - which some say was not from St. Basil - in the Treatise on the Holy Spirit: "Ipse harmonia est", He is harmony. It seems a little strange, the Holy Spirit, because with the charisms - because all of you are different - he does, so to speak, like a disorder: all different. But then it has the power to make that disorder a richer order, with many different charisms that do not nullify each person's personality. The Holy Spirit is what makes unity: unity in the presbytery.

The relationship with the bishop, the relationship between you. Negative sign: gossip. No gossip. Positive sign: saying things clearly, discussing, even getting angry, but this is healthy, this is what men do. Gossip is for cowards.

The relationship with the bishop, the relationship between you, and the third: the relationship with the people of God. We are called by the Lord to serve the Lord in the people of God. Or rather, we are drawn from the people of God. This helps us greatly! The memory, that of Amos, when he says, “You are a prophet”. I am? Which prophet? I was drawn from behind the flock, I was a shepherd… Each one of us was drawn from the people of God, he was chosen and we must not forget where we come from. Because very often, when we forget this, we fall into the trap of clericalism and we forget the people we came from. Please, do not forget your mother, your father, your grandmother, your grandfather, the village, poverty, family difficulties: do not forget them! The Lord has taken you from there, from the people of God. Because with this, with this memory, you will know how to speak to the people of God, how to serve the people of God. The priest who comes from the people and does not forget that he was taken from the people, from the Christian community, at the service of the people. “But no, I have forgotten, now I feel a bit superior to everyone…”. Clericalism, my dears, it is our ugliest perversion. The Lord wants you to be shepherds, shepherds of the people, not state clerics.

This is the spirituality [of the diocesan priest]: the relationship with the bishop, the relationship between you and the contact, the relationship with the people of God in memory – where I come from – and in service – where I am going. And how can we make this grow? With spiritual life. You have a spiritual father: open your heart to the spiritual father. And he will teach you how to pray, prayer: how to love Our Lady… do not forget this, because she is always close to the vocation of each one of you. Conversation with the spiritual father. Who is not an inspector of your conscience, he is one who, on behalf of the bishop, helps you to grow. Spiritual life.

Thank you for the visit. I forgot to bring the booklet I wanted to give to you, but I will send it to the bishop, for each one of you. And pray for me, I will pray for you. Do not forget this: the spirituality of the diocesan clergy. Take courage!

 

Prepared Address of the Holy Father

Dear brothers,

I welcome you and thank you for this visit. I thank in particular your Rector, also for his words of introduction.

In the short time of our meeting I would like to give you some ideas for personal and community reflection, and I will take them from the recent Synod of young people.

First of all, the biblical icon: the Gospel of the disciples of Emmaus. I would like to restore this icon to you, because it has guided all the work of the last Synod and can continue to inspire your journey. And it is precisely journey that is the first key word: the Risen Jesus meets us on the journey, which at the same time is the path, that is, the reality in which each of us is called to live, and it is the inner path, the path of faith and hope, which knows moments of light and moments of darkness. Here, in the journey, the Lord meets us, listens to us and speaks to us.

First of all, He listens to us. This is the second key word: listen. Our God is Word, and at the same time He is the silence that listens. Jesus is the Word that has listened to us, the acceptance of our human condition. When He appears next to the two disciples, He walks with them listening to them, and even stimulating them to bring out what they have inside, their hope and their disappointment. This, in your life as a seminary, means that in the first place there is the dialogue with the Lord, which is constituted of mutual listening: He listens to me and I listen to Him. No fiction. No mask.

This listening to the heart in prayer educates us to be people able to listen to others, to become, God willing, priests who offer the service of listening – and how much we need it! – and it educates us increasingly to be a Church that listens, a community that knows how to listen. You now live this in particular in contact with the young, meeting them, listening to them, inviting them to express themselves ... But this applies to all pastoral life: like Jesus, the Church is sent into the world to listen to the cry of humanity, which is often a silent cry, sometimes repressed, suffocated.

I walk; I listen; the third word is discernment. The seminary is a place and time of discernment. And this requires accompaniment, as Jesus does with the two disciples and with all His disciples, especially the Twelve. He accompanies them patiently and with wisdom, and He educates them to follow Him in the truth, exposing the false expectations they carry in their hearts. With respect and decision, like a good friend and also a good doctor, who sometimes has to use the scalpel. Many problems that occur in the life of a priest are due to a lack of discernment during the seminary years. Not all and not always, but many. It is normal, and the same goes for marriage: certain things not addressed beforehand can become problems later. Jesus does not pretend with the two of Emmaus, He is not evasive, He does not circumvent the problem: He calls them “foolish and slow of heart” (Lk 24: 25) because they do not believe in the prophets. He opens their minds to the Scriptures, and then, at the table, He opens their eyes to His new Presence, in the sign of the broken bread.

The mystery of vocation and discernment is a masterpiece of the Holy Spirit, which requires the collaboration of the young man who is called, and of the adult who accompanies him.

We know that the fourth word is mission; and the Synod of Youth greatly valued the synodal dimension of mission: of going together to meet others. The two of Emmaus return together to Jerusalem and above all they join the apostolic community which, by the power of the Spirit, becomes entirely missionary. This emphasis is important, because the temptation to be good individual missionaries is always lurking. Already as seminarians one can fall prey to this temptation: feeling good because one is brilliant in preaching, or organizing events, or in beautiful ceremonies, and so on. Too often our approach has been individual, rather than collegial and fraternal. And so the presbytery and diocesan pastoral work may present splendid individuality but little testimony of communion, of collegiality. Thanks to God we are growing in this, also forced by the scarcity of clergy, but communion is not made by compulsion: we must believe in it and be docile to the Spirit.

Dear brothers, here are the ideas I leave you, all contained in the Gospel icon of the disciples of Emmaus: walking; listening; discerning; going together. I ask the Lord and the Virgin Mary to accompany you, I bless you and I pray for you. And please, remember to pray for me.

(Source: ​http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2018/11/24/181124h.html)

by armaghpriest.com on November 2nd, 2018

Prayer of the Faithful to Promote the Call to Priesthood
November 2018 (Year B)

1st November: Solemnity of All Saints
For the holiness of all those discerning the call to love Jesus with undivided hearts by living the Beatitudes as priests or in the consecrated life …

4th November: Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
That those discerning the call to priesthood may live their lives according to the commandment of love and bring others closer to the Kingdom of God …

11th November: Thirty-Second in Ordinary Time
That those called to proclaim the Kingdom of God as priests will be generous in serving Christ by deepening their trust in God’s providence …

18th November: Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
That the Church will be continuously blessed with wise and holy priests, chosen by Christ to lead souls to the glory of Heaven …

25th November: Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
That Christ the King will draw all men and women to the truth of their vocations by listening to His voice in prayer and then actively following His call to the praise of His glory …

2nd December: First Sunday of Advent (Year C)
That all those now discerning their vocations will be alert and responsive to the invitation of Christ …

by armaghpriest.com on October 11th, 2018

​Prayer of the Faithful
to Promote the Call to Priesthood

October 2018 (Year B)


7th October: Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
That men and women will receive their unique vocations in Christ at the hands of our Heavenly Father, confident of His wisdom and providence in their response as His children …
 
14th October: Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
That those discerning the call to leave all and follow Jesus more closely in the priesthood or consecrated life will respond with the wisdom and understanding given by the Holy Spirit …
 
19th October: Diocesan Day of Prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood
That those chosen from the beginning by God to serve their brothers and sisters as priests may respond with generosity and freedom to that call…
 
21st October: Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
For reverent boldness on the part of the faithful as they approach the throne of grace in prayer, asking the Lord of the Harvest for holy vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life …
 
28th October: Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
For all men and women now considering their vocation, that they will take heart in Jesus’ call to serve Him as priests or in the consecrated life by our words of encouragement and prayers of support …
 
1st November: Solemnity of All Saints
For the holiness of all those discerning the call to love Jesus with undivided hearts by living the Beatitudes as priests or in the consecrated life …

by armaghpriest.com on September 16th, 2018

​During a day trip to Sicily Saturday, Pope Francis told priests and religious to fight their vices and strive to live a consistent witness of morality.

“One cannot live a double morality: one for the people of God and another in their own home,” the pope told a group of priests, religious and seminarians in Palermo, Italy, Sept. 15.

“No, the witness is only one. The testimony of Jesus always belongs to him. And for his love [the priest] undertakes a daily battle against his vices and against all alienating worldliness.”

He referred to the room of Bl. Pino Puglisi, who was assassinated by the Mafia 25 years ago, saying it stands “in genuine simplicity. It is the eloquent sign of a life consecrated to the Lord, who does not seek consolations and glory from the world.”

People look for simplicity in priests and in consecrated men and women. He said: “People are shocked not when they see that the priest ‘slips,’ is a sinner, repents and goes on… People’s scandal is when they see worldly priests, with the spirit of the world.”

People are scandalized, he continued, when they see a priest who is like “an executive,” rather than a pastor. “And this puts it right in your head and in your heart: shepherds yes, executives no!”

In the meeting, the pope also discussed clericalism, stating that clericalism is to think the Church is “above the world,” when the Church is in fact “inside the world, to make it ferment, like leaven in the dough.”

“For this reason, dear brothers and sisters, every form of clericalism must be banned. It is one of the most difficult perversions to remove today, clericalism.”

He also warned against careerism, which he said is about power, and emphasized that priests and religious are meant to be people of service. To be a good witness, therefore, he said, “means fleeing every duplicity, that hypocrisy which is so closely linked to clericalism; to escape every duplicity of life, in the seminary, in religious life, in the priesthood.”

Francis was also critical of “pastoral projects,” which he said are often “pharaonic,” or extravagant, not simple. “We go to meet people,” he said, “with the simplicity of those who want to love them with Jesus in the heart… without riding the fashions of the moment.”

What have pastoral projects done? “Nothing!” he said. “Pastoral plans are necessary, but as a means, a means to help [those near us], preaching the Gospel, but in themselves they are not useful. The way of the encounter, of listening, of sharing is the way of the Church.”

He listed ways to grow the Church within the parish, such as helping young people at school, accompanying people as they discern vocations, meeting families and the sick, creating meeting places to pray and to learn. This is the “pastoral care” that brings fruit, he said.

Condemning gossip and division, saying they “are not sins that everyone does,” Francis added that “always the error must be distinguished from the one who commits it,” and people should be loved and treated as brothers and sisters. He pointed to the example of Don Pino, who welcomed everyone with an open heart, even criminals.

He also told priests that they are a man of God 24 hours a day, not only when wearing vestments, and that the liturgy is life for them, not just a ritual. “This is why it is fundamental to pray to the One we talk about, to nourish ourselves with the Word that we preach, to adore the Bread we consecrate, and do it every day,” he said.

“It demonstrates that the Church is a sacrament of salvation,” he said, “that is, a sign that indicates and an instrument that offers salvation to the world.”

Following his encounter with priests and religious at the cathedral, Pope Francis met with the young people of Palermo and the surrounding areas.

Asked a question about how to know God’s will for one’s life, he said it cannot be found by looking in a mirror or staying locked in one's room, but “in relationship.”

God speaks “in the journey and in relationship with others. Do not close yourselves, confide in Him, entrust everything to Him, seek Him in prayer, seek Him in dialogue with others, seek Him always on the move, look for Him on the way,” he said.

“This is important: Jesus believes in you more than you believe in yourselves. Jesus loves you more than you love yourself. Seek him out of yourself, on the way: He awaits you.”

Doing this, you will hear the Lord’s invitation, he said. “Pray with your words: with what comes from your heart. It is the most beautiful prayer.”

At the end of the meeting, noting the probable presence of non-Catholics in the crowd, the pope forwent giving his usual apostolic blessing, instead saying an off-the-cuff prayer for blessing on all those present. “May the Lord God accompany all these young people on the journey and bless everyone,” he prayed.

(Original image and article via ​https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-warns-priests-against-living-a-double-life-97597)


by armaghpriest.com on September 1st, 2018

Prayer of the Faithful
to Promote the Call to Priesthood
September 2018 (Year B)


2nd September: Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
For the willingness among our young people, by the grace from the Father of lights, of making a generous gift of their lives as priests or in the consecrated life…

9th September: Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
For a deeper dedication among Catholic families to pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life among their children, believing that Christ opens ears to hear His call and hearts to answer Him…

16th September: Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
That those called to give their lives for the sake of the Gospel as priests and in the consecrated life, will glory in the cross of Jesus Christ…

23rd September: Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
For all those who welcome the call of the Lord to serve Him as priests, sisters and brothers, that they will be strengthened in their vocations as servants of all with the simplicity of children of God…

30th September: Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
For the grace of prayerful determination on the part of all those discerning our Heavenly Father’s will, especially those considering a vocation to the priesthood or the consecrated life…

by armaghpriest.com on September 1st, 2018

The priestly heart is a heart that identifies with the heart of Christ: with His sufferings, pains, joys, feelings, etc. There’s a short prayer that we, religious men and women, always pray: “Jesus Meek and Humble of Heart… make my heart like unto Thine.” These words are aimed at all those who are consecrated to God, but especially those He has chosen for the priesthood.

St. Faustina Kowalska wrote in her diary: “Jesus, make my heart like unto Yours, or rather transform it into Your own Heart that I may sense the needs of other hearts, especially those who are sad and suffering. May the rays of mercy rest in my heart” (Diary, 514). This is God’s call to us, a calling that requires a great deal of self-denial, love, and renunciation. This calling doesn’t admit mediocrity. It asks us to give everything for the Kingdom of God. “For through the law I died to the law, that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me” (Gal. 2:19-20).

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light” (Mt 11: 29-30).


The priestly heart seeks to be as similar to the heart of Christ as possible, that’s why, little by little, he starts becoming like Christ, beginning even with his entry into the seminary. The priestly heart is a heart open to everyone, full of love to give. A heart that burns with love for Christ. A heart that’s also wounded, that forgives, and heals. A heart loved by God. In sum, it’s like the heart of Christ on earth. Let Saint Therese of Lisieux explain this great gift, with her simple and profound words:

“I understood that if the Church had a body composed of different members, the most necessary and most noble of all could not be lacking to it, and so I understood that the Church had a heart and that this heart was burning with love. I understood it was love alone that made the Church’s members act; that if love ever became extinct, apostles would not preach the Gospel and martyrs would not shed their blood. I understood that love comprised all vocations, that love was everything, that it embraced all times and places… in a word, that it was eternal!” (St. Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul).

​​(Original article and image appeared here: ​https://catholic-link.org/seven-hearts-of-a-priest/)

by armaghpriest.com on August 4th, 2018

​John Vianney, Good and Holy Priest O holy Priest of Ars, you lived in an age of much upheaval, in a time when men turned their backs on God. Your bishop told of a parish to which he wished to send you where there was no love. He assigned you to Ars and said that you would be the Priest who would enable the people to know the love of God. Not only did you draw these people back to God, but your saintly reputation soon spread and many people were converted to a life of holiness. You said that a good Priest, a Priest after Christʼs own heart is the greatest treasure that God can give a parish. Give us such Priests!

O great St. John Vianney, once again we are living in day of upheaval. There is much evil in the word. Obtain for Father ___ the grace to persevere in his faith and never to despair. May he walk with the Lord and trust in Him all the days of his life. Obtain through your heavenly intercession, for Father ___ the grace of modeling his life after that of Jesus Christ, that his people will know the love of God. More than ever the people need him to be able to bring the world to Christ. Pray for Father ___ and all Priests, O great Priest of Ars.

Novena Prayer:
O holy Priest of Ars, St. John Marie Vianney, you loved God and served Him faithfully as His Priest. Now you see God face to face in heaven. You never despaired but persevered in your faith until you died. Remember now the dangers, fears and anxieties that surround Father ___ and intercede for him in all his needs and troubles especially console him in his most difficult moments, grant him serenity in the midst of crisis, and protect him from evil. O St. John Vianney, I have confidence in your intercession.
Pray for Father ___ in a special way during this novena.

(​(Image from ​www.passionistnuns.org and text of novena from ​http://www.cureprayergroup.org/devotion.jsp?d=29&p=41&n=31&i=28)

by armaghpriest.com on August 4th, 2018


by armaghpriest.com on August 3rd, 2018

​St. John Vianney, Lover of Penance and Mortification O holy Priest of Ars, you led a life of detachment from worldly pleasures. Your meals consisted of a boiled potato each day; you slept a few hours each night. But you did all of this so that you would be able to serve God to the best of your ability. Your life was portrayed by the saying: We complain when we suffer. We have much more reason to complain when we do not suffer, since nothing likens us to our Lord as the bearing of His cross. 

O great St. John Vianney, in these days when we are surrounded by so many comforts and pleasures, it can be so difficult for us to do penance for our sins and live a life of detachment. I resolve to offer some sacrifice today for the expiation of Father ___’s sins and the sins of all mankind. Assist Father in accepting the cross God chooses to send him. May he embrace the life of sacrifice to which Priests are called. May he willingly offer his whole life to God! Obtain for Father ___ the grace to imitate the life of Christ by the bearing of His cross.

Novena Prayer:
O holy Priest of Ars, St. John Marie Vianney, you loved God and served Him faithfully as His Priest. Now you see God face to face in heaven. You never despaired but persevered in your faith until you died. Remember now the dangers, fears and anxieties that surround Father ___ and intercede for him in all his needs and troubles especially console him in his most difficult moments, grant him serenity in the midst of crisis, and protect him from evil. O St. John Vianney, I have confidence in your intercession.
Pray for Father ___ in a special way during this novena. 

(Image from http://tradcatknight.blogspot.com/2015/08/st-john-vianney-sermon-public-plague.html and text of novena from http://www.cureprayergroup.org/devotion.jsp?d=29&p=41&n=31&i=28)

by armaghpriest.com on August 2nd, 2018

​O holy Priest of Ars, your life was filled with humility. You wore an old cassock. You ate meager meals. You realized that before the throne of God, you were one of His creatures made to glorify God and praise Him in all things. You said that the first virtue is humility; the second, humility; and the third, humility. You counseled people to remain humble, remain simple and the more one is so, the more good he will do. Your simplicity of soul and your uncluttered way of life led you to sanctity.

O humble St. John Vianney, when Father ___ forgets he is totally dependent on God for everything, intercede for him with Almighty God, to allow him to see that without His Creator nothing is possible and that he must rely on God for everything. He is his Creator, who keeps him in existence at every moment. Obtain for Father ___ the grace of humility. May his life exemplify your humility and simplicity, a life uncluttered, a life totally dependent on God. 

Novena Prayer:
O holy Priest of Ars, St. John Marie Vianney, you loved God and served Him faithfully as His Priest. Now you see God face to face in heaven. You never despaired but persevered in your faith until you died. Remember now the dangers, fears and anxieties that surround Father ___ and intercede for him in all his needs and troubles especially console him in his most difficult moments, grant him serenity in the midst of crisis, and protect him from evil. O St. John Vianney, I have confidence in your intercession.
Pray for Father ___ in a special way during this novena. 

​(​Image from https://holycrossdallas.org/2015/07/30/announcements-for-friday-july-31-2015/;  Text from ​http://www.cureprayergroup.org/devotion.jsp?d=29&p=41&n=31&i=28)

by armaghpriest.com on August 2nd, 2018


by armaghpriest.com on August 1st, 2018

​St. John Vianney, Model of Purity O holy Priest of Ars, your life was a model of purity. Your life of chastity was a source of edification to all. You said that when a soul is pure all the court of heaven looks upon it with great joy. Today we are experiencing a great disregard for the virtue of purity; it is looked upon with ridicule by worldly standards. 

O great St. John Vianney, more than ever before, we need your prayers and help in avoiding sins of impurity. I ask you to help Father ___ to keep pure in mind and in body and give good example in his speech, conduct and in his faith. Obtain for him the strength necessary to combat temptations against the virtue of purity, which could lead him away from God. Unite your prayers with those of Mary Immaculate to implore God that Father ___ be pure in mind and heart and preserve him from those sins which are so displeasing to God.

Novena Prayer:
O holy Priest of Ars, St. John Marie Vianney, you loved God and served Him faithfully as His Priest. Now you see God face to face in heaven. You never despaired but persevered in your faith until you died. Remember now the dangers, fears and anxieties that surround Father ___ and intercede for him in all his needs and troubles especially console him in his most difficult moments, grant him serenity in the midst of crisis, and protect him from evil. O St. John Vianney, I have confidence in your intercession.
Pray for Father ___ in a special way during this novena. 

(​Text of novena from ​http://www.cureprayergroup.org/devotion.jsp?d=29&p=41&n=31&i=28)

by armaghpriest.com on July 31st, 2018

St. John Vianney, Lover of Sinners O holy Priest of Ars, you spent many long hours daily in the confessional. People came to you for forgiveness of their sins from far-off places. Although you despised sin, you always received the sinner with much love and forgiveness. 

O holy confessor of the Lord, St. John Vianney, awaken in Father ___ a sense of his sinfulness before the eyes of God. By your Priestly example, grant him a love of the reception of the Sacrament of Penance. Obtain for him the understanding that it is in confessing his sins that Godʼs mercy is poured out upon him and he draws closer to Christ. Obtain for him a deep hatred of sin and the grace to resist temptation. Teach him the value of frequent confession, where he meets Jesus, our Savior, the source of all mercy and consolation. Contrite and forgiven may all those with whom he comes in contact act with that same mercy. Pray that Father ___ always love the Sacrament of Penance. Pray that he may call sinners to repentance with his good example and lives in complete service to our Lord.

Novena Prayer:
O holy Priest of Ars, St. John Marie Vianney, you loved God and served Him faithfully as His Priest. Now you see God face to face in heaven. You never despaired but persevered in your faith until you died. Remember now the dangers, fears and anxieties that surround Father ___ and intercede for him in all his needs and troubles especially console him in his most difficult moments, grant him serenity in the midst of crisis, and protect him from evil. O St. John Vianney, I have confidence in your intercession.
Pray for Father ___ in a special way during this novena.

(Image from ​www.passionistnuns.org and text of novena from ​http://www.cureprayergroup.org/devotion.jsp?d=29&p=41&n=31&i=28)

by armaghpriest.com on July 30th, 2018

​If you're discerning the call to #priesthood, then there's now a #Facebook group that you can join to get some support and encouragement.

Thanks to http://www.vocationministry.com , you can join here:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/197502367737532/?source_id=422879334528272 

by armaghpriest.com on July 30th, 2018

​St. John Vianney, Greatly Devoted to Our Blessed Mother O holy Priest of Ars, your life was consecrated to the Blessed Mother. You prayed earnestly to her, entrusting your Priesthood to her care. You begged all the faithful to pray the rosary, the favorite prayer of Mary, our Mother. You summed up the reason for your great love of our Lady by saying: We have only to turn to the Blessed Mother to be heard. Her heart is all love.

O great John Vianney, I ask you with all my heart through the merits of Jesus and the intercession of Mary, the Virgin Mother to make Father ___ʼs life patterned after that of our heavenly Mother, full of love for God and his neighbor. Obtain for him a deeper love for our Lady and a filial confidence in her. She is the person to whom he can turn in times of distress when lonely or upset or in times of temptation. Inspire Father ___ to consecrate his life to his Mother in heaven. May he know the powerful protection of Maryʼs Mantle all the days of his life.

Novena Prayer:
O holy Priest of Ars, St. John Marie Vianney, you loved God and served Him faithfully as His Priest. Now you see God face to face in heaven. You never despaired but persevered in your faith until you died. Remember now the dangers, fears and anxieties that surround Father ___ and intercede for him in all his needs and troubles especially console him in his most difficult moments, grant him serenity in the midst of crisis, and protect him from evil. O St. John Vianney, I have confidence in your intercession.
Pray for Father ___ in a special way during this novena. 

(​Image from https://holycrossdallas.org/2015/07/30/announcements-for-friday-july-31-2015/;  Text from ​http://www.cureprayergroup.org/devotion.jsp?d=29&p=41&n=31&i=28)

by armaghpriest.com on July 29th, 2018

​St. John Vianney, Adorer of the Blessed Sacrament holy Priest of Ars, you had such an overwhelming love for Christ in the Blessed Sacrament that you prayed for hours in His presence. You said that when our Lord sees them coming eagerly to visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament, He smiles upon them. They come with that simplicity which pleases Him so much.

O Saint of the Eucharist, may your example enkindle in Father ___ a deeper love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. By your prayers, never let him doubt Christʼs Real Presence, but obtain for him a firm faith rooted in the Eucharist. Help him not to be afraid to defend or preach Christʼs Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. Obtain for him the grace to approach our Lord with simplicity of heart as he lays his soulʼs innermost thoughts before Jesusʼ Sacred Heart.

Keep Father ___ under your continual protection, that he may be supported by your example and assistance and be faithfully devoted to Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. May his life reflect the belief of our Lordʼs abiding presence with us. O St. John Vianney, by the power of your intercession, give us Priests devoted to the holy Sacrament of the Altar.

Novena Prayer:
O holy Priest of Ars, St. John Marie Vianney, you loved God and served Him faithfully as His Priest. Now you see God face to face in heaven. You never despaired but persevered in your faith until you died. Remember now the dangers, fears and anxieties that surround Father ___ and intercede for him in all his needs and troubles especially console him in his most difficult moments, grant him serenity in the midst of crisis, and protect him from evil. O St. John Vianney, I have confidence in your intercession. 
Pray for Father ___ in a special way during this novena. 

(Image from ​https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2018-08-04; text from ​http://www.cureprayergroup.org/devotion.jsp?d=29&p=41&n=31&i=28)

by armaghpriest.com on July 28th, 2018

​St. John Vianney, Full of Zeal for Souls O holy Priest of Ars, you taught men to pray daily: O my God, come to me, so that You may dwell in me and I may dwell in You. Your life was the very living out of this prayer. The divine life of grace abided in you. Your zeal for the salvation of souls was manifested by your total self-surrender to God, which was expressed in your selfless service to others. You gave of yourself unreservedly in the confessional, at the altar, in the classroom, in fact, in every action you performed. 

O great St. John Vianney, obtain for Father ___ the realization that God also dwells in him when he is free of sin. Remind him that the salvation of his soul is the fulfillment of his existence. Awaken in him a sense of self-giving for the salvation of souls. Obtain for Father ___ , by your intercession, a zeal for souls like your zeal. May he see that God dwells in him and in his fellow men. Obtain for him from our Lord the grace to lead all men to salvation. Let your prayer be his: If you really love God, you will greatly desire to see Him loved by all the world. 

Novena Prayer:
O holy Priest of Ars, St. John Marie Vianney, you loved God and served Him faithfully as His Priest. Now you see God face to face in heaven. You never despaired but persevered in your faith until you died. Remember now the dangers, fears and anxieties that surround Father ___ and intercede for him in all his needs and troubles especially console him in his most difficult moments, grant him serenity in the midst of crisis, and protect him from evil. O St. John Vianney, I have confidence in your intercession. 
Pray for Father ___ in a special way during this novena.

​(Image from ​www.passionistnuns.org and text of novena from ​http://www.cureprayergroup.org/devotion.jsp?d=29&p=41&n=31&i=28)

by armaghpriest.com on July 27th, 2018

Today, we begin a Novena for Priests to St. John Vianney. Please pray for priests in your life and for those discerning the call to priesthood at this time.


​St. John Vianney, Who Accepted the Cross, O holy priest of Ars, as a young seminarian you encountered many obstacles on the road to the Priesthood, but you realized that to suffer was to suffer with Christ on Calvary, and so, if following our Lord meant taking up His cross, you lovingly embraced it. Your motto in life became loving while suffering and suffering in order to love. You did not get discouraged, but your strong faith united you closer to Jesus every day of your life.

Oh great St. John Vianney, you know what is needed for Father ___ʼs salvation: a strong faith able to accept the will of God in all things. To serve Christ, he too must take up his cross and follow Him. By your prayers, obtain for him a heart full of courage and strength. Obtain for Father ___ that same courage and strength to follow Jesus wholeheartedly even if it means following Him to Calvary. Intercede for him before the Lord that he may do the will of God, obey the commandments, and loyally love the Church, the Bride of Christ.

Novena Prayer:
O holy Priest of Ars, St. John Marie Vianney, you loved God and served Him faithfully as His Priest. Now you see God face to face in heaven. You never despaired but persevered in your faith until you died. Remember now the dangers, fears and anxieties that surround Father ___ and intercede for him in all his needs and troubles especially console him in his most difficult moments, grant him serenity in the midst of crisis, and protect him from evil. O St. John Vianney, I have confidence in your intercession. 
Pray for Father ___ in a special way during this novena.

(Image from ​www.passionistnuns.org and text of novena from ​http://www.cureprayergroup.org/devotion.jsp?d=29&p=41&n=31&i=28)

by armaghpriest.com on July 24th, 2018

​The image of the shepherd with a flock of sheep refers directly to Christ the Good Shepherd. The priest becomes the shepherd of the people of God through his priestly ordination, because he acts like another Christ. He’s the instrument through whom God has wanted to act in the life of Man. This is something really important, sometimes difficult for some understand, but it’s a great gift from God to the men in his Church.

The priest looks for the lost sheep and brings them back to the flock. He loves them, brings them back, embraces them with tenderness when he finds them. A shepherd must be authentic, that is, he must let the sheep graze in calm. He watches over them, but also gives them space. The sheep know their shepherd’s voice, they don’t go just with anyone. Some years ago Pope Francis said that priests must have “the smell of the sheep,” they must get involved in their lives, be with them, and carry them when necessary. It’s not an easy mission but, trusting God’s grace, we know that it can be done with love and joy.

“I myself will gather the remnant of my flock from all the lands to which I have banished them and bring them back to their folds; there they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will raise up shepherds for them who will shepherd them so that they need no longer fear or be terrified; none shall be missing” (Jer. 23:3-4).

(Original article and image appeared here: ​https://catholic-link.org/seven-hearts-of-a-priest/)

by armaghpriest.com on July 7th, 2018

Prayer of the Faithful
to Promote the Call to Priesthood
July 2018 (Year B)



1st July: Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time / Solemnity of St. Oliver Plunkett
For our young people, that the example of St. Oliver may inspire them to lives of courageous faith and may encourage those whom the Lord is calling to priesthood and religious life…

8th July: Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
That all men and women will answer the Lord with humble obedience when they are called to serve Him and His people as priests or in the consecrated life

15th July: Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
That all those called to serve Christ and His Church in the priesthood and consecrated life will receive the graces and authority of their mission to the praise of God’s glory…

22nd July: Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
For all the priests and religious men and women who serve our diocese, that, grateful for their calling, they will heed the Lord’s invitation to pray in restful solitude with Him…

29th July: Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
That the knowledge of our unity, one body and one spirit in Christ, will heighten each person’s faithfulness to their vocation and encourage those He is calling to strengthen His bond of peace as priests and consecrated religious…