Catholic Priests - I salute the self-giving, Holy and dedicated Shepherds of Jesus' flock!

My intention here is to pay tribute to the hundreds of thousands of Catholic priests over the ages who have contributed to the care of Jesus’ flock, nurtured and nourished us with the Word and planted a harvest. They have changed our lives and given us so much.

My heart goes out to them and I feel that it is hurtful and unfair to tarnish them with the same brush as those who have betrayed us and themselves – who have abused and hurt the flock. I therefore want to ask posters to reserve comments in this regard to another thread.

This thread I want to dedicate to the good men who have served us, loved us and sacrificed themselves for us.

Who says bad news sells more than good news? We all love a happy ending. Please share your thoughts with us.

Cinette:):love::clapping::dancing:

I agree!

There are wonderful Priests out there that inspire and guide us all.

May God Bless all our Priests!

Father Ignatious… You showed me the beautiful compassion of the catholic church, you were the first impression of the Catholic church I saw up close. God Bless you for all you have done for me!

I have had many friendships with priests-I think of them as my ‘spiritual brothers’.

My ‘best friend’ is in England. He was ordained by John Paul II in 1982, at the end of his one and only visit to the UK. I met Fr. Kevin Foulkes in 1988-on the 13th of October in Fatima, Portugal. We just struck up a conversation while visiting the Vice Postulator’s house for the beatification and canonization of the visionaries. In the excitement of it all, I forgot to get his address-but [providentially?] an elderly British gentleman who I had met on my three previous visits to Fatima was staying in the same hotel that Fr. Kevin and his pilgrimage group were staying. So he got it for me, and sent it to the hotel where my group was! So we’ve been corresponding ever since! And every so often Father will phone me from ‘across the pond’! I’ve seen him three times in England.

Another dear priest-friend was a Conventual Franciscan I met in my hometown in 1981. He was a wisecracking New Jerseyite who cracked me up with his jokes and his accent! I met him through a mutual friend. I found out, when I first talked to him, that he had been in Assisi, Italy early on his priesthood, serving as a summer tourguide in the Basilica of St. Francis! And I had visited Assisi myself three years before, and was planning to go again later that fall! When Fr. Robert Leahey-that was my friend’s name-got transferred to a parish in the North Country of New York State, I’d go up and visit him as often as I could. Sadly, in 1986 he got sick with cancer and had to leave the parish to seek treatment. I saw him again at his Silver Jubilee in May 1990…six months before he died. I was devastated at his death-but was able to go to the funeral to say goodbye. I still miss him, it’s nearly 20 years now.

God bless and protect all our priests-and keep them good and holy!

Here in South Africa priests get their board and lodging and use of the Parish car and a monthly stipend of R1 200.00 (I am not sure but (currently $1 is equal to R9). Do the maths and you will see that this is hardly a grand sum!

Some priests have been attacked in the presbytery for money, their watches, whatever. Recently a priest was strangled when he put up a fight. He lived in a township next to his Parish and was much loved by the people. I went to his funeral at the Cathedral which was packed with mourners. The bishop broke down twice during his homily. I knew this wonderful priest and can testify to his holiness and devotion.

About 5 years ago a young Irish priest offered himself as a guinea pig and was injected with the HIV virus in an attempt to find a vaccine. About two years after that he was attacked at his home and left for dead. After a holiday in Ireland to recover he was back in South Africa living among the people who he serves with great love and devotion.

There are many such stories and I want to thank God for the gift of our priests who serve the flock with devotion.

Cinette:):slight_smile:

Certainly there are priests that fail!
We should however remember that even the apostles failed Jesus.
Satan would not want priests to succeed and I am sure they are under constant threat from him.
Could we all offer our prayers for these people who offer their lives for the Lord.

ILE MADAME Oct-26-2006 (780 words) xxxi

For French Catholics, small island is testimony to priests’ suffering

By Jonathan Luxmoore
Catholic News Service

ILE MADAME, France (CNS) – On a melancholy bend in France’s Atlantic coast, a narrow causeway leads across choppy gray-green waters to a low-lying deserted island.

Ile Madame, in the River Charente estuary, is not mentioned in guidebooks, and few tourists venture here. For local Catholics, though, it remains a symbol of the violent anti-clericalism that erupted in their country more than two centuries ago.

“It’s a small, desolate place – but it speaks eloquently about testimony and suffering,” said Msgr. Yves Guiochet, vicar general of La Rochelle Diocese. “At a time of secularism, when most people aren’t interested in the church, it’s a reminder of how to live faithfully as Christians, while also maintaining an attitude of respect and reconciliation to the society around us.”

In April 1794, during the French Revolution, 829 detained Catholic priests, ages 28-77, were stripped of their breviaries and crucifixes and crammed aboard a pair of slave ships anchored off Rochefort to await deportation to Guyana.

Half the priests detained were diocesan priests from 35 departments of France, but some were religious, including Cistercians, Carmelites and Capuchins. Some had been marched 500 miles to reach the Charente mud flats. There was little food, and no medicine or doctors. Within nine months, two-thirds of the priests would be dead.

Survivors testified how the guards barred prisoners from praying and shot anyone found with religious objects, throwing the bodies into the water.

“The hand of God is here,” one priest-chronicler recorded. “Death continues to take away our brothers, and the dead are immediately replaced by a great number of living. Bright faces, once shining with stoutness and health, are covered in dreadful pallor.”

The priests’ imprisonment followed the bloody suppression of a Catholic-led uprising in the Vendee region to the north; the uprising sparked violent reprisals. At La Rochelle, a Jacobin stronghold, “counterrevolutionary clergy” were hacked to death during transfer to a city prison.

At Nantes, too many death sentences were handed down for the local guillotine, so imprisoned priests were towed out into the River Loire aboard a barge with holes and drowned in what became known derisively as a “republican baptism.”

Near Rochefort, the slave ships became infested, and locals complained of bodies being washed up on the mud flats, so that August a tent hospital was set up on the four-square-mile Ile Madame, and the surviving priests were rowed across.

“Compared to the hell of the ships, the island seemed a veritable paradise,” one survivor later recalled. “Approaching the shore, I saw greenery, a hedge, some trees. A butterfly appeared and I spotted some birds. It was the height of joy. I felt myself reborn.”

Battling starvation and typhus, however, 254 priests died on the island and were buried near the shore, earning Ile Madame the temporary nickname of Ile des Pretres (Priests Island).

In October 1995, Pope John Paul II beatified 64 martyred priests, including Father Jean-Baptiste Souzy, a former cathedral canon who died on Ile Madame after helping organize a spiritual life for fellow prisoners.

Today, their fate is remembered each August by a pilgrimage across the causeway from the mainland. A simple shrine to Mary stands on Ile Madame’s single track, among windswept pines and gorse bushes, while a cross of stone marks the spot where four skeletons were found buried in the sand, amid rocks and seaweed.

Msgr. Guiochet said he thinks the island should be left this way, a place of memory without monuments.

Backpackers, in search of solitude, come to camp on Ile Madame, which is home to a single farm building, a long-deserted military bunker and a few sprawling fishing shacks.

But most vacationers head north across the estuary to the fortified Ile d’Aix, where Napoleon Bonaparte was imprisoned after his defeat at Waterloo in 1815, or south to the vineyards of Medoc and the provincial capital, Bordeaux.

Though 25 priests left written accounts of the horrors they witnessed on the island, the only surviving relic is a tiny crucifix, hastily cut from driftwood with a seaman’s knife; the cross was secretly handed to priests as they lay dying. The anonymous sculptor had no time to finish it, and the cross is known locally as “Christ Without Arms.”

“It’s important for us today to know these priests had the courage to stay loyal to the church and found strength and peace in their faith,” Msgr. Guiochet told Catholic News Service.

“The tragic story reminds us we should never despair of our own society, whatever misfortunes it inflicts on us. But we should also be vigilant in making sure such hatred never triumphs again,” he said.

END

Hi, Cinette,

First, let me commend you for starting this thread - it is both timely and to the point. We are indeed blessed by the generosity of our priests. We can never take them for granted - and we are all under obligatin to pray for them and their perseverance in their vocation.

We are all reminded how Our Lord was treated in a most hurtful and unfair manner. The Prince of Peace being savagely beaten, the Author of Life being put to death. The broad bursh used to paint all priests for the sins of a very small number is just a small reflection of the actual persecution that goes on daily in the lives of these called men.

I have been very blessed in knowing some excellent priests and religious brothers (Christian Brothers). I give thanks to God for all of the graces and kindnesses these men have directed to me from God.

God bless\

Circle of Prayer - Priests Need Prayers Too
"Dear Lord we ask you to cover us with Your protection against all harm and evil and to bind every spirit that may come against us. Into Your hands Dear Lord I commend my body, mind, soul and spirit. St Michael the Archangel pray for us"

What is Priesthood? It is the surrender of body, mind, soul, spirit and heart to the work of the Lord through the Sacarament of Holy Orders - Ordination. Priests are the shepherds of the Lord’s flock, His representatives on earth. But who are priests? In my church, they are men who have given their lives over to the work of God, following in the footsteps of the first ‘Priests of the New Covenant’ - the apostles.
“When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, He said, ‘I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.’…” Matt. 26; 20

Knowing that Judas was to betray Him, He had still chosen him as one of the Twelve (Matt. 26; 21, 25).

Jesus had chosen Peter to be the first leader of the new Priesthood. He recognised his faults and failings, his temper, his impetuousity but still He knew that the love Peter had for Him would conquer all.

In John’s gospel we read of Jesus re-affirming Peter as the leader of the Twelve.

"…When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?’
‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, 'you know that I love you.'
Jesus said, 'Feed my lambs.'
Again Jesus said, 'Simon son of John, do you truly love me?'
He answered, 'Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.'
Jesus said, 'Take care of my sheep.'
The third time he said to him, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?'
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, 'Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.
Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.’ Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, ‘Follow me!’ " John 21. 15-19

Jesus had chosen this group of men, the apostles, to be the leaders of His Church but He gave Peter the responsibility to be the leader of leaders. Every group needs a leader. Someone to take charge of things and the Lord placed this responsibilty on the shoulders of Peter when He said:

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.! " Matthew 16; 15-20

For over 2000 years that direct line from Peter has been unbroken in the Catholic Church and on Peter’s death a new leader of the Church was elected by the Church elders or Bishops, and new Bishops were blessed by the Popes all through the history of the Church. These Bishops in turn ordained men down through the ages to be shepherds of the flock, as requested by Jesus. This has continued to this very day and Karol Woytilla, Pope John Paul 11, is the present-day Peter, carrying the burden and responsibility of the Church just as Peter did in his day. Peter’s burdens then are no diferent than those of the Pope today.

THANK YOU!!!

I can’t say anything else, and that doesn’t begin to say it all. I am SO thankful to you all and everything you do for me.

JMJ+
~Betsy

Totus tuus Maria!

Thank you Lord, for our priests! We love them and You so much!

This week I was informed by a Catholic site to remember the Father of your church on Fathers day.I would have never thought of that myself God Bless Nancy

I want to share this with everyone in order to give a better understanding. I hear too many people say that priests should marry as though celibacy is not to be valued. I am not against married priests as in the Maronite rite for instance or even if there were an order for married priests but I think there is great value in celibacy. This letter below is beautiful.

The Dynamics of Celibacy

Some recent high-profile priest scandals have put celibacy back in the limelight as a topic for the pagan world to rage about, but rarely will you hear what the Catholic Church actually teaches about it. I hope that the following insights will be a short-course in the dynamics of a marvelous life of grace: namely, celibate chastity. The world needs to hear “the other side” of the story.

Number One: Celibacy is a gift to the world, not a rule imposed by the Church on a few seemingly-abnormal men. Celibacy initiates men into a life of spiritual fatherhood in a strikingly positive way for others. We are called “father” for a reason: we bring spiritual life to our people through the sacred mysteries which we handle, and they are drawn into a spiritual family thereby. A truly dedicated priest has thousands of spiritual children who sometimes make immense demands on him—I often wish I had only seven children like my father! In an age where men have massively renounced their sacred duty to generate, protect and nurture families, there are myriads of selfless, celibate men sacrificing themselves in a truly manly way for the sake of God’s family and, indeed, even for the sake of many individual families. The fact that some priests fail at it does not make the gift of celibacy anything less than a true blessing; in fact, its failures force us to reflect more deeply on its quiet successes. It’s hypocritical to think that we should throw away the gift of celibacy (i.e., make it “optional”) based upon a miniscule percentage of failures of its practitioners. We don’t say the same thing about the much higher percentage of failures in marriage. Should we allow polygamy just because some married men can’t stick to one woman? This is the time to reaffirm the genuine beauty and value of celibacy, not change this immense gift to us.

Number two: Celibacy is the personal renunciation of the legitimate goods of marriage and family as a fruitful sacrifice for the kingdom of God. The astonishment of this generation that a perfectly normal, red-blooded male could make that particular sacrifice is exactly the point of celibacy. The world needs to know that there are some men walking around who are not bound either by the expectations of society or by the terms of our fleshly human nature. They are bound by only one concern; that of a kingdom that is not of this world, and they are willing to sacrifice everything for it. The presence in society of men who make this sacrifice is profoundly challenging to a culture that wants to reduce everything in life to the pleasure principle. Such a total renunciation is truly counter cultural: it’s like choosing to live with a permanent wound in the heart that never heals but out of which flow “rivers of living water” (Jn 7:38) that heal countless others. Celibacy is not easy for anyone to live, in fact, it is a constant death to self; but it is enormously life-giving to others, and the Church has not lost sight of that for two thousand years.

Number three: vows are vows. Married men make vows and so do priests. A vow is a promise before God of fidelity to a particular person or state in life. From a spiritual point of view a vow in marriage has the same significance as a vow of celibate chastity: it is permanently binding on the individual and requires total fidelity. We all know that vows are broken by weak and fallible men, but we also know and have seen that vows can be repaired, sins repented of, amends made and forgiveness granted to those who have offended others. Who of us does not depend in some way on the Mercy of God and those we have hurt when we have fallen? The return to fidelity breaks our pride and chastens our passions. What we must never do is make excuses or justify our compromises with pop cultural moral relativism. For example, the fact of “falling in love” with someone is no more an excuse to abandon the celibate priesthood than it is to abandon a wife and family for another woman. I have known many married men who have had that experience and then, in a more rational moment, picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and returned to fidelity—sometimes at a great cost. Thankfully God gave us a rational will, in addition to our lower passions, so that we have something other than whimsical feelings to govern our actions. Fidelity is always possible for those who desire to return to their deepest commitments.

Well, although a short article on celibacy is not enough to explain such a beautiful mystery, it is just enough to witness to a very dynamic way of life whose adherents have given life to millions throughout the centuries. In this time of great secular challenge to our faith, let us pray for the celibate men and women who have served us so well in this life and especially for those who are still trying to return to fidelity.

Sincerely,

Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International

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