Priesthood: November 2008 Archives

A Prayer for Priests

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O LORD JESUS CHRIST, Who hast commanded
that the men whom Thou hast called
and set apart for the service of Thy holy altars,
should themselves be holy:
give them such holiness
that in them Thy Father may take delight
and Thy Bride, the Church, find consolation.

Send Thou upon them the promised Paraclete,
to keep them firm in their faith
in the midst of an unbelieving world;
to keep them ardent in their love
among those that love Thee not;
to keep them pure amidst the impure;
and to keep them Thine amidst those who are as yet not Thine,
but whom Thou, O gentle Shepherd,
didst come to seek and to save.

And give them grace,
through the intercession of our most gracious Lady and Queen,
Thy Mother, Blessed Mary Ever-Virgin,
so to serve Thee
among all the changes and chances of this passing world,
that hereafter they may be ready
to enter in with Thee, O Eternal High Priest,
to the sanctuary not made by human hands
where Thou livest for ever to make intercession for us,
and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost,
one God, world without end. Amen.


I am beginning today a novena to Father Lukas Etlin, O.S.B., a monk of Conception Abbey known for his tender devotion to the Mother of God and his ardent devotion to the Most Holy Eucharist. Father Lukas, born in Switzerland in 1864, died on December 16, 1927 in Stanberry, Missouri, as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident. Readers of Vultus Christi may want to join me in seeking the intercession of this zealous Benedictine adorer of the Most Blessed Sacrament.


O God, who didst bestow upon Thy faithful servant, Father Lukas Etlin,
a tender love for the Mother of Thy Son,
fervent devotion to the Holy Eucharist,
and apostolic charity for all,
grant us through his intercession graces and favours,
particularly . . .
so that, through manifesting Thy good pleasure in his merits
and in hastening his beatification,
the Church may be enhanced.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

"22 Anni di Messa"

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Measuring Time Eucharistically

The Italian expression for one's anniversary of ordination to the priesthood is so many years "di Messa". Today I am giving thanks to Our Lord Jesus Christ for 22 "years of Mass." I find the Italian way of saying it very beautiful: the life of a priest is measured eucharistically. What matters, above all else, is his time before the altar, offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Adoratio by Müller soie tissée.jpg ingres_vierge.jpg

An Unexpected Gift

Yesterday, after I spoke on spiritual maternity in favour of priests to a rather large group of Catholic ladies, one of them approached me saying that she felt compelled to give me a woven image of the Blessed Virgin Mary adoring the Most Holy Eucharist that had been entrusted to her. She drove to her home to get the image and returned with it in less than a half hour. Woven in black and white silk, and beautifully framed, it was produced by the Maison Neyret Frères early in the last century. At the bottom of the picture is a single word: Adoratio.

The woven image is an interpretation of the Vierge à l'hostie painted by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres in 1841. One can see the original painting in the Pushkin Museum of Fine Art, in Moscow.

That this particular image should be given me for the Cenacle of the Eucharistic Face of Jesus on the eve of begining my 23rd year as a priest is significant, encouraging me in my "vocation within a vocation" to adore the Blessed Sacrament on behalf of all priests everywhere.

Virgo Mater Adoratrix[2].jpg

In Solitude and Adoration

I celebrated my 22 anni di Messa in solitude and adoration, adding at Holy Mass the orations provided "for the priest himself" on this occasion:


Almighty and merciful God,
listen graciously to my humble prayers.
Not for any deserts of my own,
but because Thy mercy knows no bounds,
Thou hast appointed me to serve Thy heavenly mysteries.
Make me a worthy minister of Thy sacred altars,
and let the words I utter
be hallowed and ratified by Thee.
Through our Lord.


By virtue of this sacrament, Lord,
wash away the sins that stain my soul,
and grant that Thy grace may render me worthy
to fulfil the duties of my priestly office.
Through our Lord.


Almighty, everlasting God,
by whose will, I, a sinner,
serve at Thy sacred altars and extol the power of Thy Holy Name,
have mercy,
and through this sacramental rite forgive my sins,
making me fit to serve Thy majesty.
Through our Lord.

Virgen de la Leche.jpg

Maria Sieler

Almost a year ago I wrote an entry entitled, Maria Sieler: A Life Offered for Priests. Recently I finished reading a presentation of Maria Siedler's life and mission: Un nouveau printemps pour l'Eglise, Maria Sieler: vie et mission (Éditions du Parvis, Hauteville, Suisse, 1995), by the Reverend Father Josef Fiedler, S.J. I intend, little by little, to translate excerpts from the book and make them available here. Given that tomorrow morning I will be addressing a group of Catholic women on the mission of spiritual maternity in favour of priests, I decided to translate this passage tonight:

Spiritual Mother to the Clergy

The Redeemer made me a precious but strange promise today: he put me at the disposal of His Church as "spiritual mother" to the clergy. All my sacrifices and all my sorrows, all that I have acquired in hard struggle and borne for good, all moral perfection, my extraordinary spiritual mission in conformity with my union with Jesus, all of that -- He made me understand -- constitutes a spiritual treasury for the priesthood. All my inner conquests show themselves to be, in some way, fruitful for the consecrated ones. [Maria Sieler often refers to priests as "the consecrated ones."]
All the graces of my interior life are, so to speak, the property of the clergy. Priests can draw from them: each one will obtain from the Lord that for which he implores Him; for this treasure is offered through me, in Christ, who won it in advance. . . . Just as a mother transmits her dispositions to her descendants, in the same way, my interior life and all the inherent graces -- in particular the communion established with Christ -- will be passed on, like a heritage, and will act efficaciously in the Church. . . . To back up His promise, the Saviour said to me: "I give you my Word in pledge of that." (14 July 1944)

All for Priests

A woman called to spiritual maternity in favour of priests keeps nothing for herself. All that she has received from Christ -- all that she has acquired by His grace in the way of victories over sin, virtues, and merits; all her prayers, her penances; and, above all, her confident surrender to Divine Providence in the little things of daily life -- all of these things belong no longer to her, but rather to the souls of priests.

A Kind of Dispensary

The spiritual mother of priests becomes a kind of dispensary wherein Christ places whatever remedies His priests may need in their spiritual infirmities and weaknesses. She offers her heart, in imitation of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces, to Our Lord, saying, "Use me, O Lord, as Thou wilt for the healing and sanctification of Thy priests. Unite the offering of myself to Thine own Offering on the Altar of the Cross and, then, let the all the fruits of our union be dispensed to Thy priests, especially to the weakest and most wounded among them."

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