Priests and the Ministry of Prayer

Tomorrow in my Parish we will have the privilege of hosting the Ordination to the Priesthood of six men in the Josephite Order. The Josephites have historical links to this Parish even though it is now a Diocesan Parish.

Holy Order – As priests we are ordained to Holy Orders. Thus, among the many ways we can understand the ministry of the ordained clergy is that we provide “holy order” by our obedience to the Bishop or Superior and by unifying the faithful under our care to the Bishop and the Church. Nothing is more egregious (and also silly) as a disobedient priest who thereby creates disorder. By our obedient link to the Bishop we help exercise a threefold office of teaching, governing and sanctifying.

Sanctifying Ministry – I would like to mention only very briefly one aspect of the sanctifying ministry of the priest. Surely we sanctify the faithful in a unique way through the celebration of the Sacraments. But another way we do this, a way perhaps more hidden and ordinary, is to pray for our people. The Church both commends us to pray for the faithful under our care and also commands it.

A Ministry of Prayer – How does she command it?  By the obligation to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Breviary. Every day we priests are obligated to pray this somewhat lengthy series of prayers and to earnestly pray for the faithful and in union with the whole Church. The basic series of prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours includes: The Office of Readings, Morning Prayer, Mid Day Prayer, Evening Prayer and Night Prayer. Ideally we should pray it through out the day at each appointed hour. But, due to our busy and often unpredictable schedules many of us pray large sections of it in the morning and another part of it later in the evening.

An image: But you must know that your priests pray for you. As I hold the Breviary in my hands I often imagine I am holding  the faithful of my parish in my very hands. It is my duty and privilege to pray for them, and also for the whole Church.

Someone is praying for you – I want to keep this brief (always a challenge for me) because I simply want you to know that someone is praying for you. Surely my prayers are especially for my parishioners. But you who regularly read this blog are parishioners of mine too. I pray for you each day.

I also wanted to keep this short in hopes that you might see this video which is a very touching way of depicting how priests pray for their people and their people pray for them.

10 Replies to “Priests and the Ministry of Prayer”

  1. Thank you.

    At my last confession, my priest said he would pray for me, and that is so comforting. But he also asked me to develop the practice of silent prayer, for at least 20 minutes daily because God already know what’s in my heart. And so with my breath, I can remember always: The Lord is my Shepherd …

    It is the Year of the Priests and I never forget that all of you have the heart of a shepherd.
    God Bless you.

  2. I am praying for you as well. You are a wonderful shepherd to your parishioners and us. This blog – and many of your posts and others’ – have really helped me through some tough times and made me learn something new. It helps me get through some rough nights in the ER. Thank you for taking the time to post such insightful things, and all of you, commenters and bloggers are in my prayers.

  3. Dear Msgr Pope,
    Thank you for this reflection and for choosing the picture of Msgr Edward Rice, the Vocations Director of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. God bless you.

  4. Wow, Mgr.Pope,

    All that you said in your article is true, and that video…wonderful. I have felt those same thoughts, especially when I see some of the older priests in our parish, God bless them and all priests! Yes, I think that when priests initially make the decision to follow the priestly vocation, these are the great ideals that pull them on to the life of sacrifice – as you correctly put it, a ministry for others. And yes again, you have correctly placed “Holy Order” first, as a very important, if not the most important part of being a priest.

    “Holy Orders”, could be interpreted to mean the priests who receive them are under (Holy) Orders from God to set aside their personal things, take up His Cross and follow Him!!, which is what priests do, whether in the jungles of Assam, India, or slums of Mumbai, or wasted land of Ethiopia. But “Holy Order” can also describe the work that a priest will do, – provide Holy Order to the world by faithfully keeping the Church body in order and ordered (conformed) to Our Lord: – by regularly imparting instructions to the faithful; by gently coaxing the Faithful to remain faithful; by standing up against the external forces that would re-present the faith in much more palatable (and worldly) terms, etc. Priests are the bulwark, the outer castle walls of the Church and we, faithful, are most grateful for the strength and solidity of the priests who nurture us.

    That is why it is also important for us to nurture them in the way that we are capable of – to pray for them, to support them by our contributions given gladly, to keep in touch with them and demonstrate to them that they are part of our own families, to protect them from situations which they may be unable to handle such as confrontations with aggressive people, with civic authorities who throw their weight around, etc.

    God bless our priests, and especially you, Monsignor.

  5. Msgr. Pope,

    Do you always pray the LOH or do you ever use the breviarium romanum? As a lay Catholic, I try to pray as much as the Divine Office as possible. For those interested you can go to http://www.officiumdivinum.org. You can view the office straight from their site or you can download a program to use.

  6. It’s easy to believe that priests and religious have ‘made it’ with God, that their relationship with Him comes easier to them than the rest of us. However, I believe the strength of their relationship is a result of their continual effort, particularly in their placing a priority on time for prayer. Every time I have the privilege of observing priests and religious in prayer, particularly silent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, they teach me a valuable lesson in joy, love, and humility; of what is truly important in this life.

    I know all priests have very demanding schedules, especially pastors and those in administrative positions. Many haven’t had a day off or a vacation in a very long time; but they are filled with joy and have the strength to persevere even in the most challenging times because they always make time for prayer. Thank you Msgr. and your brother priests for your everyday ‘yes’ to God, no matter what He asks of you. May our Blessed Mother wrap her mantle around you.

  7. In today’s (May 30th) Doonesbury strip a military chaplain is asked “Who’s at YOUR back?”

    The chaplain’s response sounds facetious: “God is, but she must be doing her nails.” In truth, the response is a reminder that those who minister to us are as human as we are. They need our prayers and support, perhaps as much as we need theirs.

  8. Please pray to our Heavenly Father for my following needs:

    1)That God will provide for the financial,physical,technical and human resources
    needed to build an international standard guest house and camping resort.
    2)That the Lord will give me a breakthrough in my Voluntary Service in
    Kenya programme to get volunteers,interns,missionaries and visitors from overseas.
    3)That God will bless us to always have at least five(5) visitors from overseas at any particular time.
    4)That God will supply me with the finances to buy a small bus to carry my visitors.
    5)That the LORD will give me the ability to transform Education Supplements International into one of the major volunteer placement organizations in Kenya.
    6)That our tours and travel business will prosper profitably.

    God bless you!

    Yours in Christ,

    Nicholas Ng’ang’a
    Executive Director
    Education Supplements International
    P.O Box 3305
    Nakuru
    Kenya
    Email:[email protected]

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