What's Your Story? - They Have Accepted God’s Call

For me every Catholic priest is  a real and tangible link between the people and God, a bridge between Earth and Heaven.

The priest  has a vocation -has been chosen by God - with a special calling from Jesus Himself   to follow in His footsteps in the world today.

Priests  are the  human embodiment of Christ on earth - ever available to us throughout our lives  .They help strengthen our  relationship with God and guide us how to do His will.

They are the only people on earth ordained with God’s divine authority and power:  
•to celebrate  the Mass  for us
•to consecrate the bread and wine into The Body and Blood of Christ    
•to grant us the assurance of God’s forgiveness in Confession and
•to administer the Sacrament of the Sick which aids  recovery or  gives us strength for our final journey to eternal life.

When I visited St Peter’s  Basilica in Rome I experienced a truly deep  awareness and appreciation of  the authenticity of our Catholic faith . Our faith has been handed down to us from Jesus -the Son of God and our Blessed mother Mary - through Peter and the apostles and priests parents and teachers . It is still alive  and being nurtured and practised daily  in all corners of the world  over 2000 years later as a result of  the dedicated service of  our priests. These men who down through the ages – in good times and bad - have given their lives so selflessly - to do the  work of Jesus – leading us to the Father.

We   all enjoy  the  presence of the priest at  many happy events in life:   Celebrating the Sacraments of Baptism, First  Penance, First  Communion , Confirmation , Weddings, and also on Anniversaries, Special birthdays , Community events  and other celebratory occasions  .We are so privileged to have the priest present during these  happy times and his presence  adds a very special dimension signifying that  Jesus himself is among us.

Then there are sad times  when  sickness, trouble ,worry ,loss ,anxiety, addiction, poverty, misfortune, abandonment, tragedy etc. etc. come to us or our families.   In such times we all become very aware  that we are totally  powerless over so many things.
We realize how  important it is to have a real knowledge, relationship, faith and trust  in God  to whom we turn for support , comfort and assistance.

At such times the priest through his ministry has a very special role .He  brings support, advice, guidance , counselling  ,encouragement, comfort, hope and consolation to all in these situations.  He brings the presence of Jesus in a way that  no other person can.

Whether life be short or long - death awaits us all and this can be a scary thought but through our faith we know and trust that God has reserved a place for each one of us-  and we look forward to His invitation to take our place in the Kingdom He has prepared for us.
I hope and  pray  that when my time comes that I - like my parents, brothers and grandparents will have the privilege of having a priest to administer the sacrament of the sick to me to help me on my way.

The rite of a Christian funeral celebrated by the priest brings  value, dignity and closure to our earthly lives. We are reminded and assured   that death is not the end but indeed the beginning of eternal  life. The priest – by  his words and presence -  provides love ,support, comfort and consolation to the bereaved family and friends.

Throughout my life I have had the privilege of meeting so many priests at so many levels and in so many situations. They have all been unique individuals with different personalities, interests, personal qualities , strengths and indeed even some human weaknesses -  as we all have .

However they all have one very special thing in common . They have accepted God’s call -  a call to leave all, to follow Him and to devote their lives to carrying on his mission here on earth . They are there to  instruct , encourage , guide and   support all of God’s people through their work , word and example.

We trust and pray that God will continue to call many more to follow in their footsteps so that  we will continue to experience – through His priests - the love and care of God  till the end of time. We ask this through Christ , Our Lord . Amen

Mary Hampsey




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