armaghpriest
by armaghpriest.com on February 6th, 2017


The priesthood of Christ was at the centre of the Pope’s homily (on Monday 23rd January 2017). His reflection was taken from the day’s first Reading, from the Letter of Hebrews, which speaks about Christ as the Mediator of the Covenant God has made with human beings. Jesus is the High Priest, and the priesthood of Christ is the great wonder, the greatest wonder, which makes us sing a new song to the Lord, as the Responsorial Psalm says.

The three stages of the priesthood of Christ: He offers Himself; He intercedes for us; He will return to bring us to the Father

The priesthood of Christ takes place in three stages, the Pope said. The first is the redemption: while the priests of the Old Covenant had to offer sacrifices every year, “Christ offered Himself, once for all, for the forgiveness of sins.” With this marvel, “He has brought us to the Father… He has re-created the harmony of creation,” the Pope noted. The second wonder is what the Lord is doing now – that is, praying for us. “While we pray here, He is praying for us” “for each one of us,” Pope Francis emphasized: “now, living, before the Father, He intercedes,” so that the faith might not falter. How often, in fact, are priests asked to pray, the Pope said, because “we know that the prayer of the priest has a certain force, especially in the sacrifice of the Mass.” The third wonder will be when Christ returns; but this third time will not be in relation to sin, but rather, it will be “to establish the definitive Kingdom,” when He will bring all of us to the Father:

“There is this great wonder, this priesthood of Jesus in three stages – that in which He pardons sins, once for all; that in which He intercedes now for us; and that which will occur when He returns. But there is also the contrary: the ‘unforgivable blasphemy.’ It’s hard to hear Jesus saying these things, but He says it, and if He says it, it is true. ‘Amen I say to you, all will be forgiven the children of men’ – and we know that the Lord forgives everything if we open our hearts a bit. Everything! The sins and even the blasphemies they speak – even blasphemies will be pardoned! – but the one who will have blasphemed the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven in eternity.”

“The unforgivable blasphemy”: blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, will not allow itself to be forgiven

To explain this, the Pope referred to the great priestly anointing of Jesus, which the Holy Spirit accomplished in the womb of Mary; as priests, in the ceremony of ordination, are anointed with oil:

“Even Jesus as the High Priest received this anointing. And what was the first anointing? The flesh of Mary with the work of the Holy Spirit. And he who blasphemes about this, blasphemes about the foundation of the love of God, which is the redemption, the re-creation; blasphemy about the priesthood of Christ. ‘But the Lord does not forgive that wickedness?’ [you might ask]. ‘No! The Lord forgives everything!’ But one who says these things is closed to forgiveness. He doesn’t want to be forgiven! He doesn’t allow himself to be forgiven! This is the ugliness of the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit: It does not allow itself to be forgiven, because it denies the priestly anointing of Jesus, accomplished by the Spirit.”

Do not close your heart before the wonders of the priesthood of Christ

In conclusion, the Pope returned to the great wonders of the priesthood of Christ, and also to the “unforgivable blasphemy” – unforgivable “not because the Lord does not want to forgive everything, but because this [person] is so closed that he does not allow himself to be forgiven: the blasphemy against this wonder of Jesus”:

Today it would be good for us, during the Mass, to consider that here on the altar the living memorial is made – because He will be present here – of the first priesthood of Jesus, when He offers His life for us. There is also the living memorial of the second priesthood, because He will pray here. But also, in this Mass – we will say it after the Our Father – there is that third priesthood of Jesus, when He will return, and [that is] our hope of glory. In this Mass, let us think about these beautiful things. And let us ask for grace from the Lord that our hearts might never be closed – might never be closed! – to this wonder, to this great, freely-given wonder.”

(Article and image first appeared on 23rd January 2017 at http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2017/01/23/pope_francis_the_wonders_of_the_priesthood_of_christ/1287607)


by armaghpriest.com on January 31st, 2017

​Pope Francis celebrated Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta on Friday morning, focusing his remarks following the readings of the day on the need for priests to serve as authentic mediators of God’s love, rather than as intermediaries – “go-betweens” or “middle-men” – concerned  only with advancing their own interests.

No to “go-between” priests, yest to priests who are mediators of God’s love

The role of the mediator is not that of the intermediary – and priests are called to be the former for their flock:

“The mediator gives himself (lit. perde se stesso) to unite the parties, he gives his life. That is the price: his life – he pays with his life, his fatigue, his work, so many things, but – in this case the pastor - to unite the flock, to unite people, to bring them to Jesus. The logic of Jesus as mediator is the logic of annihilating oneself. St. Paul in his Letter to the Philippians is clear on this: ‘He annihilated himself, emptied himself, and to achieve this union, [he did so] even unto death, death on a cross. That is the logic: to empty oneself, to annihilate oneself.”
The priest who abandons the task of being a mediator and instead prefers to be an intermediary si unhappy, and soon becomes sad – and he will seek happiness in vaunting himself and making his “authority” felt.

Rigidity brings us to push away people who seek consolation

Jesus had a powerful message for the “go-betweens” of his day, who enjoyed to stroll the squares to be seen:
“But to make themselves important, intermediary priests must take the path of rigidity: often disconnected from the people, they do not know what human suffering is; they forget what they had learned at home, with dad’s work, with mom’s, grandfather’s, grandmother’s, his brothers’ ... They lose these things. They are rigid, [they are] those rigid ones that load upon the faithful so many things that they do not carry [themselves], as Jesus said to the intermediaries of his time: rigidity. [They face] the people of God with a switch in their hand: ‘This cannot be, this cannot be ...’. And so many people approaching, looking for a bit of consolation, a little understanding, are chased away with this rigidity.”

When a rigid, worldly priest becomes a functionary, he ends up making himself ridiculous

Rigidity – which wrecks one’s interior life and even psychic balance – goes hand-in-glove with worldliness:

“About rigidity and worldliness, it was some time ago that an elderly monsignor of the curia came to me, who works, a normal man, a good man, in love with Jesus – and he told me that he had gone to buy a couple of shirts at Euroclero [the clerical clothing store] and saw a young fellow - he thinks he had not more than 25 years, or a young priest or about to become a priest - before the mirror, with a cape, large, wide, velvet, with a silver chain. He then took the Saturno [wide-brimmed clerical headgear], he put it on and looked himself over. A rigid and worldly one. And that priest – he is wise, that monsignor, very wise - was able to overcome the pain, with a line of healthy humor and added: ‘And it is said that the Church does not allow women priests!’. Thus, does the work that the priest does when he becomes a functionary ends in the ridiculous, always.”

You can recognize a good priest by whether he knows how to play with children

“In the examination of conscience,” Pope Francis said, “consider this: today was I a functionary or a mediator? Did I look after myself, did I look to my own comfort, my own comfort, or did I spend the day in the service of others?” The Pope went on to say, “Once, a person told me how he knew what kind of priest a man was by the attitude they had with children: if they knew how to caress a child, to smile at a child, to play with a child ... It is interesting, that, because it means that they know this means lowering oneself, getting close to the little things.” Rather, said Pope Francis, “the go-between is sad, always with that sad face or the too serious, dark face. The intermediary has the dark eyes, very dark! The mediator is open: the smile, the warmth, the understanding, the caresses.”

St. Polycarp, St. Francis Xavier, St. Paul: three icons of the mediator-priest

In the final part of the homily the Pope then brought three “icons” of “mediator-priests and not intermediaries.” The first is the great Polycarp, who “does not negotiate his vocation and is brave all the way to the pyre, and when the fire is around him, the faithful who were there, they smelled the aroma of bread.”

“This,” he said, is how a mediator makes his end: as a piece of bread for his faithful.” Another icon is St. Francis Xavier, who died young on the beach of Shangchuan, “looking toward China” where he wanted to go but could not because the Lord took him to Himself. And then, the last icon: the elderly St. Paul at the Three Fountains. “Early that morning,” Pope Francis reminded those gathered for Mass, “the soldiers went to him, they got him, and he walked bent over.” He knew that that was because of the treachery of some in the Christian community but he had struggled so much, so much in his life, that he offered himself to the Lord as a sacrifice.”
“Three icons,” he concluded, “that can help us. Look there: how I want to end my life as a priest? As a functionary, as an intermediary, or as a mediator, that is, on the cross?”

(This article and image appeared at ​http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/12/09/pope_francis_rigidity,_worldliness_a_disaster_for_priests/1277926)

by armaghpriest.com on January 29th, 2017

​“God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong.”

God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

Could He be calling you?

Call us!

​http://www.armaghpriest.com/contact.htm

by armaghpriest.com on January 17th, 2017

From CNA:​

Claude Paradis was impoverished and homeless, living on the streets of Montreal, Canada. He struggled with addiction to both alcohol and drugs, with a future so bleak, he considered ending his own life.

He did not end his life, however, and today he is a priest who dedicates his time to serving the physical and spiritual needs of those trapped in poverty, prison and prostitution. 

“The street brought me to the Church and the Church in the end brought me back to the street,” the priest told the Journal Metro.

This past December, as a sign of his closeness and solidarity with the homeless, Fr. Paradis decided to sleep on the street for the whole month, to care for the homeless people there with solidarity and charity.


His hope was that he could accompany people in a difficult situation while also making the citizens of Montreal aware of the harsh reality faced by those living on the street. Fr. Paradi founded an institution called Notre-Dame-de-la-rue (Our Lady of the Street). Each night, he goes out to bring food and shelter to those living on the streets. He also administers the sacraments, celebrates the Eucharist and even presides at funerals.

The priest is accompanied by one of his co-workers, Kevin Cardin, who also was addicted to drugs, but found help, changed his life and now has a family. Notre-Dame-de-la-rue has the support of the Archbishop Christian Lépine of Montreal, who has described the initiative as “a presence of the Church to give encouragement.” It also has the support of the city.

“Our mission is especially to give encouragement. Unlike the shelters, we go out to the people, a bit like a door-to-door service. We talk to them, sometimes we pray together before they go back to face the harshness of the street.”

Fr. Paradis knows how hard life on the street is. After growing up in the Gaspé region and working in Cowansville as a nurse, he came to Montreal 25 years ago. However, he was unable to find a job. “Isolation and despair took hold of me,” he said. Living on the street, he thought about committing suicide. “I started doing cocaine and then crack,” he recalled.


In a letter posted on the website of La Victoire de l'Amour (the Victory of Love), Fr. Paradis tells how he met the Lord.

“I had the privilege of meeting God just at the moment I was doubting Him. On a little back street in Montreal, abandoned by people, there was nobody there. Passing by the old church, impelled by I don't know what instinct, I turned back in there.”

At that moment, he had a deep and intense encounter with God. He realized he did not want to die, but rather wanted to become “a man of the Church.” 

Fr. Paradis went on to fight his addictions and now ministers to many people who face the same challenges he struggled with years ago. The 57-year-old priest has dedicated the rest of his life to serving the poor, saying “on the street is where I want to be, until I die.”



(Source of story and image: ​http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/from-addiction-to-ordination-a-homeless-mans-journey-to-priesthood-17926/)

by armaghpriest.com on January 15th, 2017

​“To you who have been consecrated in Christ Jesus and called to be a holy people.”

Could it be that you or someone in your family is being called to consider priesthood?

Explore our website for more!

(Image from ​http://parishes.wau.org/resources/article/re_how_is_god_calling_you/)



by armaghpriest.com on January 1st, 2017

​“God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts.”

If the Spirit of Jesus is prompting you to love and serve Him as a priest, visit ​http://www.armaghpriest.com/contact.htm

(Image from ​http://www.christchurchcolumbia.org/)



by armaghpriest.com on December 18th, 2016

​“When Joseph awoke he did as the angel of the Lord directed him.”

Are you prayerfully vigilant about discovering your vocation in Christ? Might He be inviting you to the priesthood? 

​​If you are considering a vocation to the priesthood we can help! Visit ​http://www.armaghpriest.com/contact.htm

(Image from ​https://trans4mind.com/quotes/prayer.html)

by armaghpriest.com on December 11th, 2016

​“I send my messenger ahead of you to prepare your way before you.”

Are you called to be sent by Jesus as a priest?

​If you are considering a vocation to the priesthood we can help!

Visit ​http://www.armaghpriest.com/contact.htm






(Image sourced from ​https://www.yumpu.com/user/ollchurch.org)

by armaghpriest.com on December 4th, 2016

​Are you called to be “A herald’s voice in the desert” preparing the way of the Lord in the hearts of His people?

If you are considering a vocation to the priesthood we can help!

Visit ​http://www.armaghpriest.com/contact.htm

by armaghpriest.com on November 27th, 2016

​“They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks….”

Is God calling you to serve the Lord of the harvest as a priest?

if so, we can help! Visit ​http://www.armaghpriest.com/contact.htm

(Image from ​http://womanassigned.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/his-still-small-voice-words-from-lord_2926.html)

by armaghpriest.com on November 20th, 2016

A prayer for this final week in Ordinary Time:

​That Christ the King, who has brought peace through the blood of His cross, will choose many men and women from our midst to preach redemption by the forgiveness of sins as priests, deacons and in the consecrated life, we pray to the Lord. 

​(Text of prayer from Diocese of Arlington; Image from ​http://gospelchurch.org.au/tag/prophet-priest-and-king/)

by armaghpriest.com on November 13th, 2016

A prayer for this 33rd Week in Ordinary Time:

That prayer, hard work and generous service will prepare many young men and women to answer the Lord’s call to follow Him as priests, deacons and in the consecrated life. Lord, hear us...



(Text of prayer from Diocese of Arlington; Image from ​https://www.hasinternational.nl/preparation

by armaghpriest.com on November 6th, 2016

A prayer for this 32nd Week in Ordinary Time:​

That those who live in celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom of God as priests, deacons, sisters and
brothers, will be blessed on earth for their witness to the resurrection of the body in the life to come, we pray to the Lord...




(Image from http://www.uscatholic.org/articles/201407/what-resurrection-body-29141)

by armaghpriest.com on November 2nd, 2016

So you think you might be called to be a priest?
With thanks to our friends at www.dcpriest.org, here are some steps you could take:

* Stay close to the Sacraments. Participate in Mass every Sunday, and daily when possible. Confess your sins to a priest regularly - at least once a month.

* Get a Spiritual Director. Ask a priest to meet with you once a month to discuss your spiritual life.

* Pray every day. With the help of your spiritual director, develop a daily prayer routine.

* Do some spiritual reading daily. Good resources can be found here :  http://www.armaghpriest.com/things-to-help-you-discern.htm

* Stay close to Our Lady. The Blessed Virgin Mary will not let you down!

* Serve your parish. Seek opportunities to get involved in parish life.



by armaghpriest.com on October 31st, 2016

Here are some signs:
  • Personal relationship with God in prayer
  • Thirst for a deeper knowledge of the faith
  • Devotion to the Holy Eucharist
  • Generosity and concern for others
  • Desire to live a good and holy life
  • Love for the Catholic Church and her teachings
  • Capacity for friendship
  • Openness to different ethnicities and cultures
  • Love for the poor and the defenseless
  • Capacity and desire for spiritual fatherhood
  • Courage and willingness to voice an unpopular view in the name of Christ
  • Healthy self-image
  • Normal social skills

These are just some of the signs that may be apparent to you - and don't worry if you don't have them all! If you feel the Lord is calling you to priesthood, why not contact your local priest or contact our vocations director? Contact details are here: 
http://www.armaghpriest.com/contact.htm.

(Text from www.dcpriest.org; image from http://www.crisismagazine.com/)


by armaghpriest.com on October 31st, 2016

A prayer for the week ahead for vocations to the priesthood:


That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in all those chosen to follow Him as priests, deacons or in the consecrated life and that they in turn will be glorified for their faithfulness to His call, we pray to the Lord...





(Image from ​http://www.hudsonandemily.com/glorify-god-with-your-story/)

by armaghpriest.com on October 24th, 2016

Pope Francis has said vocations are best generated by pastorally minded priests living in the real world while begging bishops to carefully vet who they ordain.

Speaking at a Vatican conference today, Francis told an audience of cardinals, bishops and vocation experts to re-think their vocations ministry so it did not simply become a bureaucratic pastoral programme.

The Pope told the gathering that their work involves “going out” and listening to people: he pointed out that his own vocation was not the result of a “nice theory” but having experienced the “merciful gaze of Jesus over me.”

In order for this to happen, Francis explained, the Church should stop reducing Catholicism to a “recipe of rules” while clergy needed to break out of their closed worlds.  

“It's sad when a priest lives only for himself, enclosed in the safe fortress of the rectory, the sacristy or among a restricted group of loyal followers,” the Pope told the International Conference on Vocations, organised by the Congregation for Clergy. “On the contrary, we are called to be shepherds among the people, capable of showing pastoral care and taking the time to welcome and listen to everyone, especially young people.”

Francis stressed that the world needs “mature and balanced” priests and appealed to bishops to be vigilant when vetting candidates for ordained ministry.

“When it comes to vocations to the priesthood and those entering the seminary, I beg you to discern the truth, to have a shrewd and cautious look,” Francis explained. “I say this especially to brother bishops: vigilance and prudence.”

The Pope has told bishops in the past that it is better to focus on “quality” rather than “quantity” of vocations and wants to ensure seminaries offer rigorous training of priests

To that end he has appointed Mexican Archbishop Jorge Patron Wong as Secretary for Seminaries at the Congregation for Clergy who is preparing a major document on priestly formation.

The conference took as it’s theme the Pope’s own episcopal motto “Miserando atque eligendo”: this translates as “by having mercy and by choosing” and is taken from a homily on the call of Matthew by English saint, the Venerable Bede.

Francis said that Jesus “does not do long speeches” or “offer ready made answers” but, as he showed with Matthew the tax collector, simply says: "follow me.”

(This article first appeared here: http://www.lastampa.it/2016/10/21/vaticaninsider/eng/the-vatican/priests-must-leave-their-fortresses-says-francis-PtKcndsyE6QmNsMVzeOfEL/pagina.html)

(Image is from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/09/26/pope-francis-immigration-religious-freedom-indepence-hall/72897892/)

by armaghpriest.com on October 23rd, 2016

​A prayer for the 30th week in Ordinary Time:

That all men and women chosen to fight the good fight of proclaiming faith in Jesus Christ as priests,
deacons, religious sisters and brothers, will find encouragement in our prayers and support.





(Image from ​http://cuyahogavalleychurch.blogspot.co.uk/)


by armaghpriest.com on October 16th, 2016



A prayer for the 29th week in Ordinary Time:

For perseverence in sincere prayer on the part of the faithful, asking the Lord of the Harvest for holy
vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life. Lord, hear us...





(Image from ​http://www.priorityministries.com/)

by armaghpriest.com on October 9th, 2016

​A prayer for the 28th Week in Ordinary Time:

That those discerning the call to priesthood may continuously return to the Lord in gratitude and in prayer. Lord, hear us...

(Image from redeeminggod.com)





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