Monday, November 12, 2012

Supporting our Priests

 Our Catholic Moms group met yesterday 
and we explored one of our greatest treasures of our Catholic Faith, 
our priests. 

Fr. Andrew came to lead us in an opening prayer.  He also blessed our rosaries and  medals, etc.

While doing some planning for the meeting, I discovered some interesting facts:

  • The Sacrament of Holy Orders, like the Sacrament of Baptism and the Sacrament of Confirmation, can only be received once for each level of ordination. Once a man has been ordained, he is spiritually changed, which is the origin of the saying, "Once a priest, always a priest." He can be dispensed of his obligations as a priest (or even forbidden to act as a priest); but he remains a priest forever.

  • No surprise but still interesting...while the Catholic population is increasing, the number of ordained priests is decreasing.  In addition, the number of parishes without a pastor is on the rise as well - over 3000 parishes in the US at present.  This is a hard reminder that without our priests, we have no one to administer the Sacraments.  And without our priests,  we have no Mass.

  • St. Margaret of Scotland, mother of 4, sacrificed her life for priests.  These words of condemnation below were spoken on Tuesday, March 15, 1586, in the Court of York, as Judge Clinch condemned to death Margaret Middleton Clitherow, a 33-year-old Yorkshire housewife who was pregnant with her fourth child. Her crime was sheltering Roman priests who were "traitors and seducers of the queen's subjects. This was here sentence: “You must return from whence you came, and there, in the lowest part of the prison, be stripped naked, laid down, your back on the ground, and as much weight laid upon you as you are able to bear, and so to continue for three days without meat or drink, and on the third day to be pressed to death, your hands and feet tied to posts, and a sharp stone under your back.” Click here for the full article.

  • Because of the role of the mother of a priest in her son’s vocation and formation the tradition of honoring her at the first mass of her son arose.  The newly ordained presents to his mother the maniturgium.  (The manutergium (from the Latin manu+tergium = hand towel) was a long cloth that was wrapped around the hands of the newly ordained priest after the Bishop anointed his hands with the sacred Chrism (oil))

According to tradition the maniturgium is placed around the hands of the mother of a priest as she lies in the coffin.  When she arrives to the gates of heaven she is escorted directly to our Lord.  Our Lord says to the woman – “I have given you life, what have you given to me?”  She hands him the maniturgium and responds, “I have given you my son as a priest.”  At this Jesus grants her entry into paradise. Click here for the full article.

We were very blessed at our Moms meeting to hear Marian Lauricella speak.  Marian is the mother of our new priest, Fr. Andrew.

You can listen to her talk here. (13 min)

We also discussed ways that we, as mothers, can support our Catholic priests.

  • Pray for them.  As Father John Hardon, S.J., once said, “praying and offering God sacrifices for the priesthood are indispensably important,” because “there is no Catholic Church without the priesthood.”

O Jesus, Eternal Priest, look down with love upon Thy priests. Fill them with burning zeal for the conversion of sinners. Keep them within the shelter of Thy Sacred Heart. Keep unstained their anointed hands. which daily touch Thy Sacred Body. Keep unsullied their lips purpled with Thy precious Blood. Keep pure and unearthly their hearts sealed with the sublime marks of Thy glorious Priesthood. Let Thy holy love protect them from the world's contagion. Bless their labors with abundant fruit, and may the souls to whom they minister on earth be one day their joy and consolation in heaven. Amen.

  • Say thank you. Now more than ever, in these difficult times, “the world needs heroes,” as the New York Archdiocese's Office of Vocations puts it.  Our police and firemen are considered heroes when they save lives.  Why not also think of our priests that way when they do so much to save souls?

  • Encourage your family to speak to Father after Mass.  This is a great opportunity to let your kids, especially, get to know your local priests.  Our boys love to give Father Bob a high-five and talk about the Buffalo Bills as we leave the church.  

  • Invite Father to your home for dinner or for a party, especially after your child is baptized or receives any of the Sacraments.  Priests are real people with real feelings.  They appreciate being invited.  They enjoy conversation. They like to laugh. And they probably like a good home-cooked meal like the rest of us.

  • When talking with your children about their vocation, remember to mention the priesthood as an option.  A good friend of mine has been encouraging this vocation with his boys since they were little, and now as a young teen one of the boys will often tell his dad that he wants to be a bishop one day.  Ever since hearing this I’ve started encouraging my boys as well.  Whenever we are talking about ‘what they want to be when they grow’ up, our kids say things like fireman or football player.  But now I’m always quick to add “or maybe a priest!”.  

On a different note, we had a lot of fun talking about doing what God calls us to do. Check out this must-see video called "The Hairbrush" (8 min).

Also, we all took stockings home and our families are going to stuff them with stocking-stuffers for the kids of Summit Life Outreach.

And some decorated Advent wreaths...

And finally, our closing song reminding us to be the feet and hands of Christ in our own homes and in the world...


"The Lost Get Found" by Britt Nicole - great musician for your teens, too!

(Also check out this video which is the story behind the song above)

What a blessing to spend a few hours with almost 30 amazing moms!

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