As we all know tomorrow is St John Vianney’s Feast Day. He is the patron saint of parish priests. When I read up on this priest I realized that I am so blessed. My parish priests are amazing confessors and gifted spiritual counselors in the same tradition as St John Vianney. That’s because they have a genuine walk with Christ that makes you want to draw closer to God. Their commitment is contagious!
I would encourage everyone to let their parish priest know how much he is appreciated. They work so hard for the Church and pour themselves out in service to help us grow. We need to remember they are human beings facing insurmountable tasks at times and that our prayers and appreciation mean a lot. In a day when society seems to get worse by the minute, our parish priests stand on the firing line, saying things that aren’t easy to say but necessary for our salvation, and always pointing the way to the foot of the cross.
I have two of the most FANTASTIC priests at my parish that anyone could have on their spiritual journey home. I pray for Fr Steve and Fr Dan every day that God gives them what they need and continues to bless them in their work. After all they have to contend with me so they need lots of special graces, believe me I know. :eek:
Since coming back to the Catholic Church 6 weeks ago the Senior Pastor has been invaluable to me and I know I would not be making the progress I am making had he not been my “spiritual boot camp drill sergeant” ready with a swift kick when I need it. He pours so much of his own heart into you that you can’t help but grow to respect him and find a closer walk with the Lord. That is because the Lord is at the center of his heart. He has what I want spiritually and a friend told me, “If you want what he has then you should do what he does.”
We also have the pleasure of having a newly ordained priest in our parish and as I’ve gotten to know him more over the past weeks (he arrived at the same time I did) he has given me insights and understanding that show he is truly a great man of God with an exciting ministry ahead of him. Watching him unfolding before our eyes is such a blessing and it reminds me that I too am unfolding and growing. We are all a work in progress to the Glory of God in Christ Jesus.
I know my Senior Pastor is probably pulling his hair out with me. As a newbie again I feel like a toddler. I take a few shaky steps and then freak out and ask, “Is that OK, am I doing it right?” I need a lot of reassurance and I know that’s maddening but I’m growing stronger each day and I owe so much to these two priests who have the patience of Job (actually I think Job would have strangled me by now). I picture the 2 of them drinking double shots of scotch and commiserating at the rectory. But when I go into Confession having lost another fight with my sinful habit I struggle with I am always heard with patience and compassion. I teasingly thought of bringing them in a 5th of vodka when I had to make my 2nd confession in 24 hours (yes that was today). He also wouldn’t let me get away with saying my Penance should be to just go stand in the middle of the freeway with a sign that says, “Hit me”. Instead I left feeling the love of God knowing my sins were forgiven.
Our parish priests are God’s hands in our lives sharing the sacraments and blessing our hearts with their loving care. I love and appreciate all mine do and I hope you will take just a moment and let your priests know you care about them and give thanks for their ministry to Christ and His Church. They are the hands of Jesus blessing us, giving us HIs precious body and blood, hearing our Confessions, and to my humble appreciation they welcomed this broken and battered woman home. Thank God they didn’t give me what I deserved for abandoning God and His Church but extended God’s grace and mercy in their prayers and actions. I didn’t get what I deserved; I got what I needed the most.
Thank you Jesus and our Blessed Mother for dedicated priests sold out to you.
God Bless you Fr Dan and Fr Steve! Happy St. John Vianney Feast Day and thanks for putting up with me and welcoming me home. I ask you to please forgive me for any time I made your job harder. But most importantly, thank you for answering God’s call; I have a life that will be forever changed because you said yes to Him. I can never thank you enough.