Inspiring priest


#1

Hello,

I’m feeling very called to help my parish priest become more inspired in his priesthood. There are days that I know he feels burned our or not very enthusiastic… Does anyone have any ideas how i can reach out to him and inspire him to show his joy for his vocation?

Thanks so much!


#2

Start with prayer.

Then, be positive. Catch him in the act of doing good — when he gives an unusually good homily, or offers something spiritually beneficial, let him know how much you appreciate it.


#3

Pray for him. Let him know you are praying by giving him a ‘spiritual bouquet’. Get others in your parish to pray also and include their prayers in the bouquet. Thank him after Mass–not for a good homily, but for bringing you Jesus. Offer to help out with any ‘ordinary’ tasks that might be crowding his schedule–take his car to get it lubed, bring him dinner. Give him a gift certificate to him favorite bookseller, buy him a subscription to a homily mag or something similar (there are suggested titles floating around here).


#4

thanks! I’m doing those things and its good to hear others mention them too!


#5

Good ideas! Thanks, Sr. Sally!


#6

When my pastor burned out and needed to get away for a month, his temporary replacement told us that we should invite our pastor over for dinner. He suggested that we ask the pastor to say the rosary with us after dinner. He told us he has never been asked to do this by a parishoner, but he would love it if he was asked to. He told us don’t invite a priest to join you at the beach, or other places where there are temptations. He explained that priests need our support in their vocations. He said they need our friendships. He said talk to them.


#7

Cathryn,

Thank you so very much. This is probably one of the most helpful things. I have asked Father to dinner and such, but I think you are right. I will invite him over for supper one night this week, and hopefully it can become a tradition for us!

I know one parish near me, when they had a very holy priest who was being ‘attacked’ by several in the parish, those who supported the priest (who was not in the wrong) by creating bumper stickers that read “We Love Our Priest!” I’m not so certain this would go well in our parish, but it is certainly an idea!

Again, thanks for everything!


#8

Keeping watch
Jesus, please inspire laity to assist and collaborate with Your ministers. Even those who see priests and religious as set apart by their vocation may lack appreciation of their human and apostolic needs. Therefore, Your ministers may experience isolation or overload with tasks that should be shared by their parishioners and others.

Many priests and religious, while perhaps enduring periods of particular difficulty, may feel the anguish of little visible return for labour and may sometimes encounter opposition or apathy.

Therefore, contemplation of life sacrificed to their people for Your sake may cause them inner conflict or discouragement, especially when they experience doubt, weariness, boredom or spiritual dryness.

Out of such trial, offer them grace and opportunity to mature into wholeness in You. While ensuring this growth within them, please grant them others’ prayer and assistance. Please give them sufficient enthusiasm and satisfaction to allow them to persevere.

Although we must seek to serve rather than to be served, You, who are concerned with the entire human personality, know the need to sustain not only the soul destined for eternal communion, but all aspects of human nature. Abuse of any element of humanity may lead to discouragement and stress that may crush the human spirit.

Faith and courage may be overwhelmed if there is little love of God in others to assist Your ministers. Each person is called to mutual service, in communion with the sacred office of the priest’s Sacramental ministry. Help them in us where possible,

Jesus, remembering that while You suffered greatly, grievously alone, You accepted ministry offered by others, and at times sought aid unasked. Your weary walk to Calvary required another’s assistance to carry Your cross.

Jesus, You know when faith is best served by consolation or by its absence. Please grant what is required. At least prevent unnecessary hardship where others, by prayer, penance, word or kind support may encourage Your priests.

Like many people, I endure stress, uncertainty, and the discouragement of failing to see positive results of prayer, good intentions and self-sacrifice. I know discomfort and inconvenience, tiresome temptations, doubts, and guilt. I experience loneliness, yet also the burning desire to be alone. I offer all these experiences in prayer for Your priests.

Unite all pain in the hearts of Your priests and of each disciple, with Your own sufferings, so that You may present all things, redeemed in You, to the Father. Offer them in reparation for our sins and negligence and in atonement for the compromises that weaken our apostolate. Offer them in plea for consolation and hope, for faith and fidelity, for growth and wholeness of Your suffering servants. Offer them also for Your many faithful ones who endure imprisonment, persecution or death for Your word.

These things Jesus, so that in their struggles, Your chosen may glorify You—and that in their ministry and witness they may intercede with increasing efficacy and holiness for Your gifts and graces upon Your children in their charge.

Availability
Jesus, ‘availability’ to others’ needs and requirements is one of the responsibilities of priesthood and religious life. Everyone who calls upon priests and religious seeks a high standard of response. It may be unrealistic to anticipate so much of ordinary humans dedicated to service of others. Yet one negative encounter from a priest or religious can cause a vulnerable person to leave the Church community.

Remember, Jesus that even You felt needful of slipping away from others, seeking rest that Your ministers also require. While we may reasonably hope for a genuine Christian response from our Priests and Religious, let us give them the respect due to human beings who also become weary, overworked and discouraged. Few of us are of the calibre of a Cure of Ars, a Saint Padre Pio, or a Blessed Mary MacKillop.

Therefore, instruct Your people in commonsense regarding Your consecrated religious. Ensure that we are sensitive and supportive towards them in our mutual Christian responsibility. Let Your priests and religious serve wholeheartedly while also allowing themselves restoration and recreation. Let them continue to grow and mature in faith and charity, without becoming stunted or overcome by overwork and stress. 2001


#9

Thanking Priests & Religious
Thank you, Priests and Religious, for giving your lives and energy to serve us and lead us to God and our true selves. Thank you for counselling and encouraging us in our difficulties, and for supporting us in our sickness and death.

Thank you above all for the Sacraments that heal and nourish our spirits. We bless and thank you, for whatever you do for even the least of us, you do for Jesus. In your kindnesses, we see the God of love, and know that God cares for our loved ones and us. October 2006

Goodness and failings of Your priests
Jesus, behold all the faith, obedience, self-denial, all the beauty, wisdom, humility and love of so many faithful priests and religious. Grant that through Your great love for them, the Father will pardon, heal and make whole all within and flowing from them.

Yet a time may come when some prove that they are fallible men, with selfishness admixed with their goodness. Please minister to anyone injured by the frailties of Your priests. Give them grace to overcome hurt and disillusionment. Heal them in the strength of Your Spirit.

Jesus, please grant reparation for the offences of Your chosen ones for their sins against faith and hope, against humility and integrity, against obedience, chastity, and above all against charity. Please absorb into Your sacred passion, the suffering that such sin draws upon the offender and upon others—together with the prayer and merit of the communion of saints—so that it becomes reparation for the sin which occasions it.

Thereby make their ministry and witness no less efficacious—despite their sins and omissions—as You heal injury, supply what is lacking, and cleanse what is tainted. Jesus, minister to Your priests.

Give them grace to become truly like You the Good Shepherd who never betrays or abandons his sheep. Let their hearts and lives overflow with Your loving goodness.

Jesus, if Your priests, religious, and other willing servants, have been instrumental in saving even just one soul, but are themselves still in purgatory, then for sake of that one soul, please rapidly purify and take them home to see Your face forever.


#10

God, succour Your Priests and Religious
Come, God, I ask Your full attention to this prayer for Your Priests and Religious that rises from my heart and echoes endlessly through my life. Come; respond with deepest nurturing love to the needs of these who dedicate their entire adult lives in service of others for Your sake.

Their Sacramental vocation issues directly from You. They freely give their lives to worship and service. Reward with ever-greater blessings—their worship, their generosity, their kind acts of service, their renewals, and their fidelity. As they persevere in faith and hope, many develop into the kindest and wisest persons.

Regard them compassionately with the human eyes of Your divine Son. Respond to each as to Your beloved Jesus. Be present to them daily throughout the years, for life is long and diverse, with times of hope and fulfilment and times of routine and disappointment.

Observe tenderly! Are there not periods when Priests and Religious may be overwhelmed with discouragement or depression! Are there moments when others’ lack of appreciation hurts them? Are there periods when they may experience boredom in prayer or in the endless demands of their apostolates! Are there days when they may wonder if in their youthful hope and ardour, they threw away their lives for no real purpose; and times when they glimpse sweeter, more fulfilling possibilities reflected from others’ lives? Are there times when they wonder if their prayers, teachings, or efforts, offered sometimes at great cost to self, do actually ignite inspiration or spark progress in the lives of God’s people?

In times of doubt, they may be trapped in the dilemma, “does this God I give my life for truly exist, and as loving God?”, yet there is no certainty or verification either in faith or in unbelief. Have mercy on such barrenness or struggle. Lovingly tend Your chosen ones in these hardships. Lead them to flourish in Your love and grace.

Let no person or circumstance denigrate their Sacramental identity and worth. Inspire others with humble respect for their human progress to wholeness and holiness. Priests can be ruined in an instant by another’s delusion or lie or by one moment’s alleged weakness. Give them the justice of others’ discernment and reasonable mercy. Give them wisdom to serve with discretion yet without anxiety. Alert them to hidden threats from others’ neuroses or perfidy. Let potential accusers recognise the sinful presumption of judging or destroying those called by God into service. Provide witnesses to their integrity and goodwill and render detractors’ testimony ineffectual. In Jesus’ name, I humbly yet insistently demand as baptised child of God, that You will triumphantly defend Priests and Religious from sin and from others’ betrayal. Angels of God constantly protect and intercede for them.

They have generously relinquished some lawful human comforts and rights, even the fundamental right to family, although many would make the best of parents and spouses. You made man and woman for complementary purposes that are denied them by Church rule in order to free them to serve each person as loved Other, so it is incumbent on You, the Church, and their people to support them in this superhuman law. Let all people respect and guard their vocation, for their lives extend through years across the range of human need and possibility.

They have no career or home or garden of their own. They have no one of their own to embrace them or to speak with loving tenderness to them. They may receive and give only limited human touch and emotion despite personal humanity deepened by compassion for others. They will, once, twice, or more, love another deeply, as every human does, yet they are required to resolutely guard their solitary commitment to God and to the good of others’ souls. They may sometimes dislike someone, but will seek to extend kindly compassion towards everyone.

God, my being blazes with prayer for each one imprisoned in goodwill and solitude when doubt, conflict, anxiety or loneliness assail them. It rises with the command of love and compassion that You give them vivid moments when they truly know and feel Your love and presence and the loving concern of their brothers and sisters on earth and in heaven. Be there for them, God, with Your Spirit and Your angels, in their fervour, in their successes, in their disappointment about themselves, in their doubts about their usefulness to others, in their boredom, in their faithful years of generous effort that seem to bear little fruit and contain little for their human selves for brief or extended times.

I am incensed for sake of each person who even for a period feels trapped, confused, alone in their choice to love God above all and to sacrifice their lives for others in prayer and service. My anger is my determined call to You, our God to have gentle, tender, practical mercy upon the whole humanity of Your Priests and Religious.

With fierce urgency, and with gentle persuasion, I ask You to carry them powerfully through their times of confidence and faith, and to nurture them gently through their times of pain, loneliness, and doubt. Direct them to seek adequate recreation and nurture of self and each other in music, hobbies, sports, reading and interactive humour and conversation, as part of their quest for the human wholeness that constitutes holiness.

I plead for fullness of grace and mercy for all these men and women throughout the ages. I am not any of these amazing but ordinary humans, but I am they, each one, in the heart and mind that cries out from my soul for each one as if he, and she, is me. I love you, human souls as if you are me, imprisoned as I also am in my limited individuality and in my helplessness, and in my human absence from you, and in my not being you. I cannot wait to pray for you for when I am worthy, wise, or holy. Yes, I/you, not perfect, very human, uneven in our good, sometimes failing badly, but God, be present, powerful, tender and loving, always.
God, Spirit, Mother, Saint and Angel are able to bless and comfort you.

Then come, God, come Spirit, come Mother, come Saint, come Angel, with great love and power and tenderness, to me, each priest and Religious. This is my clear, unquenchable prayer rising from my will, and it is God’s love in me for you. July + October 2005


#11

bknebel
I don’t know if you don’t or do like my prayers for priests, I’ve a chapter of prayer for Priests in my “handful of wildflowers”, but if you though it was any use, perhaps you could print these ones out for your priest, that some strange lady in Australia prays this sort of stuff for priests (and Religious), that we do take their needs seriously and they are valued.

You and I and others do take our priests’ needs seriously and do value them and pray with serious consideration for them

God bless, Trishie


#12

Ask him if there is some help you can provide to him!

Invite him to family dinner, or over for game night.


#13

Trishie and Aramis,

Thanks very much. I’m going to work extremely hard on this and hopefully get a few people in the parish to jump on the support wagon too!

Thanks!


#14

Hello all,

I have tried and done all the above to inspire my pastor and have invited others to help. For “Priesthood Sunday” in October, I had the CCD kids sign a card for him and have invited him to eat and several other things. When I had the kids sign the appreciation card for him, I asked the other CCD teachers to sign… none that I asked signed. One even said, “Its hard to tell someone you appreciate them when you aren’t sure what you even appreciate them for!”

HOW DO I HELP MY PASTOR BECOME HOLY?

I’ve done the bouquets and the prayers and such… I continue to do them… What else can I do? Should I be asking the Bishop for help?

If there are any other priests here in the forums, what would you appreciate from parishioners and (other laity coudl answer this one too) what helps you become more holy and turn closer to the Lord?

Also, how to I get the point across to my pastor that people feel he isn’t around enough or approachable when needed? He leaves right after Sunday Masses and doesn’t usually return until Tuesday mid-day. He goes to his parents place 200 miles away. I can understand the desire to be near family, but most people have shared with me that they feel that he isn’t a part of the community.

I love my faith and my church and I wish to inspire others to lead the life in faith that they should/could. Any help/ideas/advice you can offer me for my pastor and for inspiring active faith life in the parish is much appreciated!


#15

Priests need their days off just like anyone else. Most of us have two days a week when we don’t have to work. It is not unusual for priests to take Monday off to recover from the weekend, their busiest time. If your priest didn’t have days of rest, he would burn out and become ineffective (or perhaps that has already begun to happen).

And I don’t know the age or state of health of his parents, but I think it is laudable that he is not abandoning them.

Most priests are under the burden of very heavy work loads these days. Ask him if there is any way you can help. And of course, continue praying for him.


#16

Totally agree!!
Priests need day off. Laity needs to be more considerate. Please keep in mind priests are human beings, not God.


#17

Oh I understand completely! I would never begrudge a priest a couple ‘days off.’ during the week.

Back to the topic at hand, how do we help him to become part of the community and help his spirtual life?


#18

I think you have received all the good suggestions here already.
Please do not:

What else can I do? Should I be asking the Bishop for help?

That sounds you want to accuse the priest to his superior. It will greatly discourage him.

The best way to help him spiritually is to pray for him. Who else other than the Holy Spirit can help the best in this area?

We just cannot judge the priest and think he is not holy enough. No one but God knows his heart. Therefore, prayer is the best and wisest way to help.


#19

thanks for the reply. I do not want to accuse him, but get him as much help as I possibly could! We have a very pastoral bishop who has the heart of a true father, thats the only reason I mentioned that. I want nothing to do with ‘accusing’ the priest of anything or hindering him. I want to do everything I can to inspire and help him, beyond praying for him and cooking for him.


#20

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