Priesthood: May 2008 Archives


Collect of the Votive Mass of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Eternal High Priest

O God, by whom Thine only-begotten Son has been established High and Eternal Priest, to the glory of Thy majesty and for the salvation of mankind, grant that those He has chosen as ministers and dispensers of His mysteries, may be found faithful in fulfilling the ministry they have accepted.
Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.

The WorldPriest website features a special page on today's worldwide observance and on the Mass that will be broadcast live from the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock in Ireland. Don't miss the brilliant advertising campaign materials in both English and Spanish. Heartfelt thanks to our friends at WorldPriest.


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Sursum Corda

Given all the demoralizing and cranky rants about priests that float through the blogosphere, I find it more than ever necessary to point to models of priestly virtue and holiness. I am a great believer in visiting each day a gallery of heavenly heroes. Sursum corda! Hearts on high! This is one of the reasons why holy priests like Padre Leopoldo Pastori, Saint Peter Julian Eymard, Saint Gaetano Catanoso, Saint Théophane Vénard, Saint Claude La Colombière, and others, so often figure prominenty on Vultus Christi.

The Offering of Little Souls

Precious few in the Church are given the incisive and prophetic charisms of a Saint Peter Damian or of a Fra Girolamo Savonarola. All the members of Christ's Body are, however, called to a life of Eucharistic oblation: "And now, brethren, I appeal to you by God's mercies to offer up your bodies as a living sacrifice, consecrated to God and worthy of his acceptance" (Rom 12:1). Even "little souls," hidden in the humdrum activities of ordinary life, can offer themselves quietly but effectively for the sanctification of priests; for the deliverance of priests oppressed by the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil; for the refreshment of priests grown weary in their service; for the conversion of priests who may have compromised with sin.

The Sin Never Lost to My Sight

There is not a priest alive who cannot say every morning with the psalmist, "Wash me clean, cleaner yet, from my guilt, purge me of my sin, the guilt which I freely acknowledge, the sin which is never lost to my sight" (Ps 50:4). I, for one, am acutely conscious of that part of my being that is "a shell of perishable earthenware" (2 Cor 4:7). Saint Paul's words find an echo in my heart:

"We have a treasure, then, in our keeping, but its shell is of perishable earthenware; it must be God, and not anything in ourselves, that gives it its sovereign power. For ourselves, we are being hampered everywhere, yet still have room to breathe, are hard put to it, but never at a loss; persecution does not leave us unbefriended, nor crushing blows destroy us; we carry about continually in our bodies the dying state of Jesus, so that the living power of Jesus, may be manifested in our bodies too" (2 Cor 4:7-10).

Some Proposals

The World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests that will be observed on this coming Friday, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, invites all of us — clergy, consecrated men and women, and lay faithful — to consider making certain resolutions. I would propose, for example:


“For this were we called and it is for the sake of priests that the Lord presses us to let ourselves be immolated entirely. We should have for the souls of priests . . . a burning zeal and a sort of jealousy that will spur us on to work better, to pray better, to suffer better, so that they may be more and more priestly.

We have been promoted by the Lord Himself to give birth to holiness in the souls of priests. We also, and in a super-eminent way, must become the mothers of priests. Oh! How crucial it is for this high function that we humble ourselves profoundly and put no limit to our generosity.”

Mother Marie des Douleurs (1902–1983)
Foundress of the Congregation of the Benedictines of Jesus Crucified


I find my consolation in the one and only companion who will never leave me, that is, our Divine Saviour in the Holy Eucharist. . . .

It is at the foot of the altar that we find the strength necessary in this isolation of ours. Without the Blessed Sacrament a position like mine would be unbearable. But, having Our Lord at my side, I continue always to be happy and content. . . . Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the most tender of friends with souls who seek to please Him. His goodness knows how to proportion itself to the smallest of His creatures as to the greatest of them. Be not afraid then in your solitary conversations, to tell Him of your miseries, your fears, your worries, of those who are dear to you, of your projects, and of your hopes. Do so with confidence and with an open heart.

Blessed Damien de Veuster, SS.CC.

A Priest–Icon of the Suffering Christ

The saints, all of them, are living illustrations of the power of the Holy Spirit. The saints are the masterpieces of the Divine Iconographer who, in every age, writes in souls the whole mystery of Christ. The Holy Spirit is the Finger of God’s Right Hand tracing on hearts of flesh the likeness of the Heart of Jesus. In Blessed Damian of Molokai the Church sets before us a priest fashioned by the Holy Spirit in a special way into the image of the suffering Christ, “despised and rejected by man, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Is 53:3).

Trentotto anni di messa!

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For The Reverend Monsignor Arthur B. Calkins on the 38th Anniversary of His Ordination to the Holy Priesthood:

"The Holy Spirit will honour Mary and, through Mary, the Holy Spirit will be honoured, beginning from the heart of priests. Two new glories are held in reserve for the world: the reign of the Holy Spirit through Mary and a new awareness stirred up by the Holy Spirit in the spiritual and Christian world of the sorrowful and loving years of Mary's solitude. In these two things, I too will be honoured together with my Father from whom I never separate myself, in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

And so, if my priests want to make progress in virtue they must do it by means of Mary; if they want to grow in knowledge and in love for the Holy Spirit, they must become ever more hers. More and more then let them make known and glorify these years of her solitude.

There is nothing surer than to avail themselves of the Holy Spirit and of Mary for their transformation into Me and, even more, for the perfection (insofar as this is possible on earth) of the union of the members of the Church among themselves, and the perfect Unity in the Trinity that I am seeking in a thousand ways."

The text is from Sacerdoti di Cristo by Conchita Cabrera de Armida, p. 387. The translation is my own.

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

Donations for Silverstream Priory