To all our parishioners and dear friends of our parish community…Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!
The Holy Father gave two reasons for designating a special year for Catholic priests (1) to encourage spiritual perfection in priests, and (2) to spell out the importance of the role and mission of the priest in the Catholic Church and in modern society.
The holiness of priests derives from their dedication to prayer and offering Holy Mass. Holy priests are the ones who are most effective in bringing people to God. In fact, Pope Benedict has said often, “God is the only treasure which ultimately people desire to find in a priest. The holier the priest is, the easier it is to find God in him and our people know that.”
The Holy Eucharist is the “source and summit” of our Catholic faith. The Eucharist contains Christ Himself, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. But there can be no Eucharist without a priest to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Sacred Heart is present in the Eucharist, so there is an essential connection between the Eucharist and the priest.
The tenth promise of the Sacred Heart of Jesus refers to priests devoted to His Sacred Heart, “I will give to priests the power of touching the hardest hearts.” This is clearly seen in the life of saintly priests, such as St. John Mary Vianney, whose Feast Day is celebrated on August 4th.
St. John Vianney was a priest of ardent faith who completely trusted in Almighty God. His work in the humble parish or Ars in France demonstrated true love of neighbor, at the same time seeing the horror of sin in the lives of his parishioners. So many flocked to have this great priest hear their Confession, which he did up to sixteen hours in the heat of Summer and eleven hours in the cold of Winter.
He preached adamantly against sin, yet was so sympathetic and so ready to welcome any sinner to his confessional. The Holy Priest of Ars knew how important a good Confession was to a Christian life. His only comfort in this world was the Real Presence of Jesus in the Tabernacle and whose greatest joy was to distribute the Eucharist to the pilgrims to his parish.
The Pastor refused Communion to the souls who refused to reform, but to souls of goodwill he opened wide the doors of the Eucharistic Feast. Each day at Holy Mass he received Holy Communion with great love and fervor. The infamous attacks of the devil which disturbed his brief rests and the trials which disheartened and fatigued him did not make him give up his sublime task of converting souls.
With charm and enthusiasm he preached the beautiful virtues which he said resembled the perfume of a vineyard in bloom. O Holy Priest of Ars, your precious remains are now contained in a magnificent reliquary, the donation from the priests of France. But this earthly glory is a pale image of the unspeakable glory which you enjoy with Jesus, Mary, our Mother, and all the angels and saints. St. John Vianney, Patron of Priests, pray for us and for all priests!
Blessings on your Summer Days,