Monday, April 30, 2012

Vatican Officials: Priests have to be saints

The following is a letter from the Congregation of the Clergy provided by Zenit.

Dear Priests,
on the forthcoming solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (June 15, 2012), as usual, we shall celebrate World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of the Clergy. The expression found in Scripture “This is the will of God: your holiness!” (1 Thess 4:3), though addressed to all Christians, refers to us priests in particular, for we have accepted the invitation to “sanctify ourselves” and to become “ministers of sanctification” for our brothers. In our case, this “will of God” is, so to speak, doubled and multiplied to infinity, and we must obey it in everything we do. This is our wonderful destiny: we cannot be sanctified without working on the holiness of our brothers, and we cannot work on the holiness of our brothers unless we have first worked on and continue to work on our own holiness.
Ushering the Church into the new millennium, Blessed John Paul II reminded us that this “ideal of perfection”, which must be offered to everyone, is normal indeed: “To ask catechumens: ‘Do you wish to receive Baptism?’ means at the same time to ask them: ‘Do you wish to become holy?’”[1]
On the day of our Priestly Ordination the same baptismal question surely resounded in our heart, calling for a personal answer; but it was also entrusted to us so that we might address it to the faithful, cherishing its beauty and preciousness. This does not mean that we are not aware of our personal shortcomings, or of the faults committed by some who have brought shame upon the priesthood before the world. Ten years later – considering that the situation has grown ever more serious – we must let the words pronounced by John Paul II on Holy Thursday of 2002 resound in our heart with greater strength and urgency: “At this time too, as priests we are personally and profoundly afflicted by the sins of some of our brothers who have betrayed the grace of Ordination in succumbing even to the most grievous forms of the mysterium iniquitatis at work in the world. Grave scandal is caused, with the result that a dark shadow of suspicion is cast over all the other fine priests who perform their ministry with honesty and integrity and often with heroic self-sacrifice. As the Church shows her concern for the victims and strives to respond in truth and justice to each of these painful situations, all of us – conscious of human weakness, but trusting in the healing power of divine grace – are called to embrace the ‘mysterium Crucis’ and to commit ourselves more fully to the search for holiness. We must beg God in his Providence to prompt a wholehearted reawakening of those ideals of total self giving to Christ which are the very foundation of the priestly ministry. ”[2]
As ministers of God’s mercy, we know that the search for holiness can always begin again through repentance and forgiveness. But we also feel the need to ask for it, as individual priests, on behalf of all priests and for all priests.[3] Our faith is further strengthened by the Church’s invitation to cross the Porta fidei again, accompanying all of our faithful. As we know, this is the title of the Apostolic Letter with which the Holy Father Benedict XVI called the Year of Faith that will begin on October 12, 2012.
It may be useful to reflect on the circumstances of this invitation. It takes place on the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council (October 11, 1962) and on the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (October 11, 1992). Furthermore, the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will be held in October 2012, and its theme will be “The new evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith.”
We will therefore be expected to work in depth on each of these “chapters”:
– on II Vatican Council, so that it may be accepted once again as “the great grace bestowed on the Church in the twentieth century ”: “a sure compass by which to take our bearings in the century now beginning ”, “increasingly powerful for the ever necessary renewal of the Church”[4];
– on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, that it may be truly accepted and used as “a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion and a sure norm for teaching the faith”[5];
– on the preparation of the next Synod of Bishops in order that it may truly be “a good opportunity to usher the whole Church into a time of particular reflection and rediscovery of the faith.”[6]
For the time being – as an introduction to this work – we can meditate briefly on this indication provided by the Pope, towards which everything converges: “It is the love of Christ that fills our hearts and impels us to evangelize. Today as in the past, he sends us through the highways of the world to proclaim his Gospel to all the peoples of the earth (cf. Mt 28:19). Through his love, Jesus Christ attracts to himself the people of every generation: in every age he convokes the Church, entrusting her with the proclamation of the Gospel by a mandate that is ever new. Today too, there is a need for stronger ecclesial commitment to new evangelization in order to rediscover the joy of believing and the enthusiasm for communicating the faith.”[7]
“The people of every generation”, “all the peoples of the earth”, “new evangelization”: before such a universal horizon, we priests must ask ourselves how and where such statements can come together and stand. So we can begin by recalling that the Catechism of the Catholic Church itself begins with a universal outlook, recognizing “Man’s ‘capacity’ for God”[8]; but it does so choosing – as its first quotation – the following text of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council: “The root reason (“eximia ratio”) for human dignity lies in man's call to communion with God. From the very circumstance of his origin man is already invited to converse with God. For man would not exist were he not created by Gods love (“ex amore”), and constantly preserved by it  (“ex amore”); and he cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and devotes himself to His Creator. Still, many of our contemporaries have never recognized this intimate and vital link with God, or have explicitly rejected it.”  (“hanc intimam ac vitalem coniunctionem cum Deo”)[9].
How could we forget that, with the text quoted above – and in the richness of the wording chosen – the Conciliar Fathers intended to speak directly to atheists, upholding the immense dignity of the vocation from which they had departed? And they did so with the same words used to describe the Christian experience, at the peak of its mystic intensity! The Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei also begins stating that it “ushers us into the life of communion with God”, which means that it allows us to become directly immersed in the central mystery of the faith we are called to profess: “To profess faith in the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is to believe in one God who is Love ” (ibid. n. 1).
All this must resound in a special way in our heart and in our mind, making us aware of what is the greatest tragedy of our times. Christianized nations are no longer tempted to surrender to a general sort of atheism (as they were in the past) which results from having forgotten the beauty and warmth of the Trinitarian Revelation. Today it is especially priests, in their daily worship and ministry, who must refer everything to the Trinitarian Communion: only by starting from it and by immersing oneself in it can the faithful really discover the face of the Son of God and of His contemporariness, and really reach the heart of every man and the homeland they are all called to. Only this way can us priests restore contemporary man’s dignity, the sense of human relationships and social life, and the purpose of the whole of creation. “Believing in only One God who is love ”: no new evangelization will really be possible unless us Christians are able to surprise and move the world again by proclaiming the Nature of Our God who is Love, in the Three Divine Persons that express it and that involve us in their own life.
Today’s world, with its ever more painful and preoccupying lacerations, needs God- The Trinity, and the Church has the task to proclaim Him. In order to fulfil this task, the Church must remain indissolubly embraced with Christ and never part from Him; it needs Saints who dwell “in the heart of Jesus” and are happy witnesses of God’s Trinitarian Love. And in order to serve the Church and the World, Priests need to be Saints!
From the Vatican, March 26, 2012 Solemnity of the Annunciation of the B.V.
Mauro Card. Piacenza, Prefect
Celso Morga Iruzubieta, Tit. Archbishop of Alba Marittima, Secretary   

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Good Shepherd Sunday

Picture source

A Prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood

Lord Jesus Christ, Shepherd of souls,
who called the apostles to be fishers of
men, raise up new apostles in your holy
Church. Teach them that to serve you is
to reign: to possess you is to possess all
things. Kindle in the hearts of our people
the fire of zeal for souls. Make them
eager to spread your Kingdom upon
earth. Grant them courage to follow
you, who are the Way, the Truth, and
the Life; who lives and reigns for ever
and ever. Amen

"We adore You, Jesus,
eternal Shepherd of the human race.
You are present in the Eucharist
to dwell continually
in the midst of Your people.
You nourish us,
You guard us,
You guide us to the heavenly fold."

Ven. James Alberione

Quote source

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Photos - Annual Diocese of Honolulu's Jubilee Celebration for Clergy and Religious -50th Anniversary of Father Paul Smith

April 28, 2012, Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa.

Our dear bishop Larry was the Celebrant and concelebrating with him were priests from our diocese. A few of us were invited to  this joyous occasion by our friend Father Paul Smith, retired Army Chaplain.  Father Paul and Father Roland Bunda SM are celebrating their golden jubilee. There were many sisters and deacons celebrating a milestone anniversary this year, along with a couple of priests and a few brothers. A couple of sisters are celebrating 75 years in religious life!  You can read a little more about each of them here.

The following is what Father Paul shared. What a beautiful testament to the priesthood! (Normally, we would provide the link to the Hawaii Catholic Herald but unfortunately, their site is down for maintenance.  The emphasis added is mine).
"I was ordained in Newark, N.J., on May 26, 1962. After serving in parishes in Jersey City, I entered the U.S. Army as a chaplain on active duty in 1971 and served int he Central Highlands of Vietnam until March 28, 1973. I was the last living chaplain to leave Vietnam. In addition to several Mainland assignments, I served in South Korea, Germany, Panama, Alaska and Hawaii. Upon retirement from the Army in 1992, I worked in hospital ministry in Honolulu for 19 years, retiring in 2011.

"Challenges and difficulties are present in every life, but the challenges of the priesthood are unique and magnified because of the special obligations of assisting people on their journey from here to eternal life.

"One of many consolations as a priest is the privilege of offering Mass, an honor not granted to God's holy angels. Offering Mass and providing the sacraments to soldiers hours before they unfortunately are killed in battle was not just a duty, but an honor. Their devotion at Mass and the Eucharist reminds me that I have young men, soldier saints, who are hopefully watching over me. God knows I need watching over!

"Administering the last sacraments to my father before he died and celebrating his funeral Mass were memorable experiences. Likewise, caring for my mother in her old age was an unforgettable honor and privilege for me as a priest. She usually treated me as her 'little boy,' but when she was unable to leave home for confession due to illness, I became 'Father'. After confession it was back to the normal routine of 'little boy'. Saying Mass for her, giving her the Anointing of the Sick, and celebrating her funeral Mass were moments of wonder fan consolation that belong only to the priest as he brings God to his mother, and his mother to God.

'"It has been a wonderful life! As Lacordaire said: 'It is all yours, O priest of Jesus Christ.""
Happy Golden Jubilee Father Paul and Father Roland from the Spiritual Moms who pray for you and your brother priests, each and every day!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Highest vocation in this world and Request for Names of Men Being Ordained to the Priesthood

The following is from a new blog the owner introduced me to:
Extract from Bl Columba Marmion’s conferences to priests on Holy Mass… “The priest is raised to a dignity which is, in a certain sense, divine, for Jesus Christ identifies Himself with him. His role as mediator is the highest vocation in this world. It is worth repeating: if a priest did nothing during his whole life but offer the holy Sacrifice piously every morning, or even if he were to offer it once, he would have accomplished an act greater in the hierarchy of values than those events which convulse the world. For the effect of every Mass will endure for eternity, and nothing is eternal except the divine. We must orient our whole day towards the Mass. It is the central point and sun of the day. It is, as it were, the focus from which there comes to us light, fervour, and supernatural joy. We must hope that, little by little, our priesthood may take possession of our soul and our life so that it may be said of us: “He is always a priest.” That is the effect of a Eucharistic life, embalmed in the perfume of the sacrifice which makes us an alter Christus, another Christ."
HELP NEEDED! READ ON... Traditionally in the Spring and Summer, the Church celebrates her Ordinations of men to the Holy Priesthood of Jesus Christ. In the past I have featured the names of Deacons who will celebrate Holy Orders - so that we may specifically pray for them and rejoice in their 'YES' to Our Lord's plans for them. Are there men in your Diocese who will be ordained to the priesthood soon? Please submit their FULL NAME, DIOCESE/COUNTRY they will serve, and DATE of Ordination. I will add this info at the end of the daily Eucharistic offerings on the day of their Ordinations. What holy ANTICIPATION! This Eucharistic Reflection is archived at Truth Himself.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Message from Pope Benedict XVI:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The 49th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which will be celebrated on 29 April 2012, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, prompts us to meditate on the theme: Vocations, the Gift of the Love of God.
The source of every perfect gift is God who is Love – Deus caritas est: “Whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him” (1 Jn 4:16). Sacred Scripture tells the story of this original bond between God and man, which precedes creation itself. Writing to the Christians of the city of Ephesus, Saint Paul raises a hymn of gratitude and praise to the Father who, with infinite benevolence, in the course of the centuries accomplishes his universal plan of salvation, which is a plan of love. In his Son Jesus – Paul states – “he chose us, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him in love” (Eph 1:4). We are loved by God even “before” we come into existence! Moved solely by his unconditional love, he created us “not … out of existing things” (cf. 2 Macc 7:28), to bring us into full communion with Him.

More to read here at Vocations website of Lifeteen. Mahalo!

In the Diocese of Honolulu, here is the vocations info:

Discernment Day:

Who? Anyone who is looking for directions to one’s life

When? April 29, Sunday 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Where? St. Anthony Retreat Center Rose Hill – 3351 Kalihi Street, Honolulu RSVP: Call Sr. Ivy, Sr CC Celeste Mahealani Cabral at 845-4353 ext. 239

How? Father David Lupo, SS.CC. will lead the group in reflection, prayer, and discussion.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Prayer for Seminarians in Danger of Losing their Vocation

Picture Source: Google images

"Lord Jesus, by the Precious Blood You did shed in the Garden of Olives, take pity on all aspirants to the priesthood who, through the temptations of the evil one, or dread of the responsibilities of the sacred ministry, are in danger of losing their vocation. Impart to these tortured souls sufficient courage to make the sacrifices by which the Eucharistic Chalice must be purchased; and in return for their generosity, inebriate them at the altar with the Blood which, in Heaven, shall be their eternal source of delight.

Our Lady of the Precious Blood, watch over the living chalices of the Blood of Jesus. Amen."

~from Prayers for Priests and Those Destined for the Priesthood recited daily by the Handmaids of the Precious Blood as a closing prayer after Vespers

I saw this beautiful prayer over at Anne's blog:
Imprisoned in My Bones

EWTN Live - Msgr. Wassel and Fr. Warkulwiz are members of the Apostolate for Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration

This Apostolate encourages Parishes to have perpetual adoration of the Jesus in the Holy Eucharist

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pope Benedict asks for Prayers as the 7th Anniversary as Pope Approaches

Happy Birthday Holy Father!

Hau'oli lā hānau Holy Father!

Today is our Holy Father's 85th birthday. May God and His blessed Mother keep him safe, healthy and strong as he faithfully leads his flock.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Feast of Divine Mercy

Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Honolulu - Divine Mercy Sunday

...The soul that will go to confession and receive Holy Communion shall obrtain COMPLETE FORGIVENESS OF SINS AND PUNISHMENT. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. LET NO SOUL FEAR TO DRAW NEAR TO ME, EVEN THOUGH ITS SINS BE AS SCARLET...

Diary of St. Faustina

Thursday, April 12, 2012

EWTN Live Fr. William Petrie: Sacred Hearts Father and New Pastor of St. Damien Church, Molokai: Work with Hansen's Disease Patients

Father Petrie is a Sacred Hearts father just like Saint Damien and Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey, SSCC.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

St. Faustina's Advice on Praying for Our Confessors

Photo source: Divine Mercy Center of Hawaii

The following is from St. Faustina's Diary (647):
"...I came to understand one thing: I must pray much for each of my confessors, that he might obtain the light of the Holy Spirit, for when I approach the confessional without first praying fervently, the confessor does not understand me very well..."

This is a powerful reminder that we should not only pray daily for our priests but especially to remember to pray for our own dear confessors so we are assured of not only making a good confession but will also be given the spiritual guidance and direction that our own soul needs.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Daily Offering Prayers for our Priests

Divine Savior Jesus Christ,
who has entrusted the whole work of your redemption,
the welfare, and salvation of the world to priests as your representatives,
through the hands of your most holy Mother and for the sanctification of your
priests and candidates for the priesthood,
I offer you this present day wholly and entirely,
with all its prayers, works, joys, sacrifices, and sorrows.
Give us truly holy priests who, inflamed with the fire of your divine love,
seek nothing but your greater glory and the salvation of our souls.

And you, Mary, good Mother of priests,
protect all priests in the dangers of their holy vocation and, with
the loving hand of a Mother, also lead back to the Good Shepherd
those poor priests who have become unfaithful to their exalted vocation and have gone astray.

Source: Magnificat

Benedict XVI: A priest never belongs to himself