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Devon Wattam Ink Slingers Priesthood Vocations

Priests Are People Too

 

It takes a special man to answer God’s call to the priesthood. In a world that glamorizes power, pleasure, and self-indulgence, it’s difficult to understand the courage, sacrifice, and self-denial it takes to promise to live out a life of chastity, poverty, and obedience for the good of others.

Whether people think they’re fools or saints, though, it always seems like others can’t fully recognize the humanity of the Church’s priests. Catholics and non-believers alike either hold clergymen to impossibly high standards, only to be disappointed when they fail or see them as hypocrites for speaking the truth in spite of their own sinfulness.

We all need to be reminded of one thing: priests are people, just like you and me.

They Have Strengths & Weaknesses

Priests aren’t robots; they’re men. Even after going through seminary and professing their vows, they continue to be men with personal strengths and weaknesses. I’m always taken aback when people say things like, “He was so smart. He could’ve been anything, but he chose the priesthood…” or “He is so attractive. What a waste!” 

The priesthood isn’t a prison sentence. It’s not a punishment for the misfits of society who don’t fill the perfect mold of what would make a good husband, father, student, or employee. As people of God, we should celebrate the intelligence, talents, work ethic, and even attractiveness of our priests. These traits aren’t wasted because they’re not experienced as a husband or father; they glorify God’s goodness in a unique, powerful way through the priesthood. 

They Make Mistakes

Priests aren’t infallible. They aren’t perfect. They aren’t God. We need to remind ourselves of this from time to time when we get hung up on mistakes that they make, big and small. While they are in a public position to serve the Lord and his people, they are still sinful and will assuredly do things that not everyone likes or agrees with. Cut them some slack. Forgive them when they disappoint you, and move on.

Likewise, we shouldn’t hold priests that we love and agree with on a pedestal so high that we put them in the place of God. It’s equally as tempting to idolize godly men as it is to write off men for not being godly because there seem to be so few of them left in the world. When we do encounter one, it’s easy to hang onto his every word. We must fight this compulsion, however, recognizing that priests are God’s servants, not God himself. 

They Need Our Prayers

At the end of the day, priests are on a journey to heaven just like the rest of us. But unlike the rest of us, their vocation is put on display for everyone, Catholic or not, to critique. I am thankful that the world isn’t watching my every move as a wife and mother under the scrutinizing microscope that most priests experience. I would be continually critiqued, and rightfully so. 

Priests need our prayers. The good ones and the ones we struggle to find the good in. Thinking of the countless tasks they do every day that go unnoticed – the hospital visits, community outreach, continuing education programs, on top of saying Mass, hearing confessions, and managing a parish for little income – it’s a wonder that anyone would join the priesthood at all.

And yet, they do.

Knowing the sacrifice, ridicule, and ingratitude they will experience from the world, something still compels men around the world to take on the most important job in the world: bringing Christ to his people. For that, we owe them our prayers.

 

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Giveaways Ink Slingers Maurisa Priesthood Vocations

Interview with Author Kevin Wells: The Priests We Need to Save the Church

The Priests We Need to Save the Church

When his uncle, Monsignor Tom Wells, was brutally murdered in his rectory in 2000 former sports writer, Kevin Wells, turned to writing to pour out his grief. His first article devoted to his beloved uncle appeared in the Washington Post just before his family celebrated their first Christmas without “Tommy”.

For many years, our family attended the beautiful parish in which Monsignor Wells was buried. As you exit the historic chapel on the hill, you cannot help but notice his gravestone, but it was the impact he made as a priest in our diocese that really made his presence palpable, even to folks like us who never had the blessing of meeting him.

Spurred by the scandals rocking the priesthood and the Church, Kevin recently published his second book, The Priests We Need to Save the Church. I had the privilege of interviewing Kevin about his uncle and his book via Skype for Catholic Sistas. It was a lively and extremely enjoyable exchange which lasted an hour. The following are excerpts from our conversation.

Catholic Sistas: You started your career as a sports writer and I was curious to know how you began writing about your uncle, Monsignor Wells, and the faith in general?

Kevin: As far as writing about the faith when I was a sports writer I was given the nickname of “Monsignor” by my agnostic co-workers. Kind of like Flannery O’Conner who would not necessarily write about the Catholic faith, she would imbue it into her beautiful writing, not that I’m a beautiful sports writer but that I would always try to get a Catholic angle into my stories or find some way to take a moralistic or theological outlook in my writing. The first real Catholic or faith centered article I wrote was published, believe it or not, by the Washington Post in the aftermath of my uncle’s murder. He was a giant around Christmas time. There’d be 70 people in a room and he’d hand out the presents. It was a tradition for many years. He was hilarious and charming and witty and that first Christmas after he died, I remember, it was a tremendous void that he wasn’t going to be handing out the presents under the tree and I decided I needed to write about that void.  It got quite a lot of feed back after it was published. So I said to myself if I can do this and touch people’s hearts that aren’t Catholic or don’t have any sort of relationship with Christ then I’m going to keep doing it. So I started writing for the Catholic Standard and the Catholic Review in Baltimore. 

CS: How did you come to write this particular book?

Kevin: In my home parish for many years I just sensed, as Father Duesterhaus says, that the treasure of our Catholic faith was just being buried in the ground and our Church seemed to me to be becoming almost protestant.  The preaching was muted and contracepted. Nobody was ever at confession. Something’s wrong here and over the years I kept thinking, “If the pastor was a father and was intentional and had the fire in his eyes, I guarantee you this parish would begin to convert and start to understand the faith.” But I kept pushing that thought aside because what is a member of the laity going to tell a priest about how to be a priest? I would talk to the priest and encourage him. But finally, about 2 years ago I decided I’m not going to live with this anymore. I’ve been living with this thought for years and instead of dying, it’s growing stronger. So I told my brothers,”I need to go on a sabbatical. I want to write a book about what I thirst for from our pastor.” That’s how this book came about.

CS: It’s a really tough, touchy subject that you tackled and you talked a little bit about the hesitation you had about “Who am I to say something to priests about how they should live.” How has it been received?

Kevin: Believe it or not, very well. I can only really say from who I hear from.Priests from all over the country really, have contacted me. Some have said they’ve cried reading it. Some have said it has re-engineered their priesthood. One priest said, “I’m really mad at Wells. I’m only  doing 2 of the 8 characteristics and now he has me going for 3,4,5,6.” Tom Monahan, the founder of Ave Maria University, bought 50 books and gave them to priests at a function a couple weeks ago. I do think though that even if you handed out free Christmas books to every priest in America I bet 85 percent of the priests would not touch it. I do think there is a reluctancy, if you are a priest, to touch my book for many reasons. I think there is an ideology out there and some priests are so set in their ways that they would prefer not to step into the valley of the exceptionalism of Saint John Vianney and Maximillian Kolbe and anything that could challenge them to be heroic, to become a martyr.  It’s like you as a mom or me as a dad if someone wise set us down and told us, you’re doing okay, but here’s what you’re not doing and bam, bam, bam down the line and they’re right. What that demands out of you and me is that we need to cowboy up and rise to the challenge. So, unfortunately, I do not believe this book will be cracked by the majority of Catholic priests.

CS: I imagine disseminating the book in the seminaries would be the place to start. Wouldn’t you say?

Kevin: My publisher, Sophia, has started a campaign. They are really trying to get the book into the hands of every priest and seminarian in America. A lot of benefactors have bought cases of books with the intention of getting them into seminaries. Saint Charles Borromeo in Philadelphia just asked for 100 books to hand out to seminarians. I don’t blame seminary rectors for this but I think there is a hesitancy to bring another new book into the curriculum or even to suggest it for pleasure reading. Janet Smith has read the book and has really been moved by it. She’s trying to get into every seminary in America. Mgsr. John Essef is trying to do the same. There are people out there who are really trying to disseminate it. I would love it to be in every seminary but it’s kind of hard to crack that code.

CS: Your intended audience was obviously priests and seminarians. The book has really impacted me personally and many of the lay-folk I’ve talked to. It’s inspiring us to adopt some of the same characteristics. So many of these characteristics are qualities we should all have. Did you imagine that there would be cross-over to the laity?

Kevin: That was the hope. I sensed that many priests would not be open to reading the book and the hope was that the laity would and they would see through the 8 characteristics, through the blueprint whether these characteristics were or were not being lived out by their pastor as their shepherd. Then they, as a lay Catholic, might take up some of these practices like spending more time in adoration, or taking a cold shower, or skipping a meal because it brings me closer to Christ and brings me closer to the beauty of the faith. If I’m going to do this and I’m not sensing the same in my pastor then I’m going to encourage him. When Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, “Who’s going to save the Church? Not our bishops, not our priests. It’s up to you laity to remind bishops how to be bishops and priests to be priests.” That’s kind of a head scratcher, but what I think what he was saying was: Laity, if you love the faith, if you’re praying the rosary, it you’re dying to yourself in certain ways. It’s incumbent upon you. You owe it to God. You owe it to yourself. You owe it to your priest to ask him why he’s straight-jacketing his role, his duty to become Jesus Christ, in persona Christi, as a priest. I was hoping the laity would be encouraged in their own lives to dwell on those 8 characteristics, but once we’re living them out to the best of our ability and then we go to mass and we’re being sucked down rather than lifted up, then we need to have a talk with Father.

CS: In addition to getting this book into the hands of our priests, what else can we do to rescue the priesthood right now?

Kevin: Well, obviously you know the one thing you can do is pray for your priest everyday. It’s also incumbent upon us to reach out and say Father can I mow your lawn? Hey Father, can I lead a pre-Cana class? Hey, Father, can I help out with the CCD? Because we want to help Father. If you’re a good priest you’re going to draw parishioners from other parishes because they aren’t being fed by the priest there and good priests are going to be overworked. They need help from intentional members of the laity. I think it’s just reaching out to them and saying, Father come over for dinner. We’re gonna make you a steak and break open a bottle of wine, but we want to pick your brain about how we can help you. I think it’s being a friend and also practically helping them around the parish with things they need help with.

CS: You address and discourage “bachelor priests” in your book and what really struck me was that we’ve had a couple really wonderful sacrificial priests in our lives who often or always give up their scheduled day off to offer more masses and services to their parishioners which makes me worry that they are doing too much and that they’ll burnout.  How do we prevent burnout in our priests? How do we help them recharge?

Kevin: I know three priests personally who work 7 days a week and that is my concern too, but I think it’s built into their DNA. They’re workers. They’re grinders and they’re sort of lost if they are not close to the Eucharist in some way or close to their identification as a shepherd in some way. To a certain extent I think they gain their energy from their ministry. To answer your question regarding the potential for burn-out, the good hard working priests simply have to spend some down time with other hard working priests. They need to feed off of them. Laugh with them. Commiserate with them. Share a meal with them. Go on a weekend hunting trip with them, whatever. Because that priest loves having dinner with Maurisa and her husband and celebrating Mass but I think he’s got to be around good priests because the other priests will say, “Father, you’re working too much. You’ve gotta dial it back.” They can sense in better ways than you and me how they can dial back a colleague in a priesthood. I just think that priests need to be around other priests that work hard and they can sort of put the kibosh on too much work. At the end of the day, only he can decided how he’s going to do his ministry. I think a daily holy hour is key. The priests that work hard, that holy hour charges them in a way that it does not charge up the priests who do not make a daily holy hour. They gain energy, sustenance, and grace from that holy hour that compels them to work harder than the rest.

CS: Our two youngest are boys and both have at one time or another mentioned they might be interested in the priesthood. As a mom and knowing what I know has gone on in many seminaries that makes me very, very nervous. What can we do? How do we encourage their vocations and not worry so much about the garbage that’s going on?

Kevin: I think it’s easy. I think now we need to think very practically. I have a 17 year old son and if he told me that he was discerning a vocation and the process started and let’s say he decided on Mount Saint Mary’s or Theological College or John Paul II. What I’d do on day one is I’d sit down with my wife and the rector and it’s a closed door meeting and my son’s not there and I put it on him. I ask pointed questions. I am the father of my son and I need to get him to heaven and I’m about to release him to you, but before I do I have questions for you and I just go bam, bam, bam—is there any hint of homosexuality in this seminary? If you sense it, what are you going to do? Are you going to reprimand? Are you going to discipline? Or are you going to throw them out? Once it’s clear there, I just give it to God as long as I have the sense this rector is good and faithful and a true shepherd then I release my son. I don’t worry so much about all the stuff going on out there and I think you know, now these rectors are back on their heels. They know they need to get things done correctly.  I think the seminaries are better now. They’re aren’t great but they are better because they know if something happens and I get word or you get word we’re gonna go to town and they are going to be in trouble.

CS: What’s next for you?

Kevin: Right now I’ve been asked to give a lot of talks and write articles and travel a little bit with the talks. So I’ve told myself that just until the end of the year I’m going to stay on sabbatical and promote the message of challenge found in this book. I’m going to continue to press and press and press in my talks and writings and whatever the Holy Spirit compels me to do, and obviously it’s not me. It’s through adoration, through rosaries, through the Holy Spirit, and a little bit of zeal on my part because I was around my uncle and I saw what he did. I’m continuing to discern right now during this little hiatus what to do next. For the next three months I’ll write and I’ll speak.

Before our interview, I read The Priests We Need to Save the Church. It is a fantastic and impactful book filled with memorable stories about the heroic priesthood of Monsignor Wells and interviews with men whose priesthoods have been impacted by his example as well as interviews with admirable and holy priests who embrace the sacrificial aspects of priestly fatherhood. What struck me most deeply was how much this book inspired me to embrace more fully some of the sacrificial characteristics Kevin puts forward–more time spent in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, a deeper devotion to our Blessed Mother, a more devout prayer life, and stricter, reparative penances.

 

Because I believe so deeply in the need for this book and Kevin’s message to priests, we at Catholic Sistas are hosting a giveaway. One sista will win two copies of The Priests We Need to Save the Church–one to read and one to give away to a bishop, priest, seminarian, or friend. To enter just leave a comment in the combox.


References and resources:

The Priests We Need to Save the Church by Kevin Wells

Burst: A Story of God’s Grace When Life Falls Apart by Kevin Wells

Uncle Tommy–Happy Martyr and the Priest We Need–Crisis Magazine

Comfort is Killing the Church–Crisis Magazine

Priests, to Save the Church, Answer the Call to Save Souls and Seek the Lord Above All–book review by Janet E. Smith

 

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Responding to Crisis

Until recently, I had always thought of myself as a “joyful Catholic”.  Unfortunately, recent events have left me feeling angry, betrayed, heartbroken, and yes, maybe a touch bitter.  I have read with growing revulsion and depression all the latest news coming out about former Cardinal McCarrick, Pennsylvania and most recently the widespread coverup by church hierarchy which now appears to include Pope Francis.  I am devastated.

Our family has somewhat of a personal connection to McCarrick.  He was our archbishop for several years.  He also presided over or attended many of the profession of vows and ordinations of a religious order we have been closely connected to.  In fact, I have many photos that I took in which he posed with the religious sisters after they had made their First Professions.  My stomach churns at the thought. So yes, my initial response to these latest scandals is righteous anger and I firmly feel that is not a wrong emotion to feel at having been so betrayed by Church leadership. I don’t want to remain an angry, bitter Catholic. I must take steps to move on.

I’ve read all sorts of responses to the present plight.  Many are calling for inquests, resignations, withholding of funds, protests of the USCCB at their yearly meeting, etc. One voice I’ve noticed has been largely silent, and that is the voice of the Domestic Church.  As mothers, fathers, and families what can we do to ensure these atrocities against our children and against our Church do not continue?

First of all, we need to move past the emotions of anger and fear.  I’ll honestly say, I still feel pretty insecure about my little guys ever entering seminary.  I know I need to get past that fearfulness.  God willing and with His grace, I know I will.

Right now the Church needs our prayers more than ever.  This crisis has all the hallmarks of a satanic attack on Mother Church. As a family, pray for her.  Pray for her protection. Pray for her healing, Pray for her purity. Pray for justice. As part of this you might choose a penance or sacrifice to make as reparation on behalf of the Church.  

Pray for the victims. I can not even imagine what they have gone through and what pain they must be in. Pray most especially for their healing.

Pray for those who have betrayed the Church and her teachings.  This is a tough one, but we are called to pray for our enemies.  Pray that those who’ve broken faith by ignoring, shuffling, hiding, and lying will finally do what is right and holy and bring light, truth, and healing to the Church.

Pray for your own bishop and priests, that they may remain courageous and faithful to the Church and their vows of celibacy. I still believe most of our priests and bishops are good holy men.  They need our prayers and encouragement more than ever.

Pray for wisdom and fortitude, because we are going to need it when speaking to our children and answering the questions of our non-Catholic family and friends.

How do we discuss such a delicate issue with our children?  As a parent, I have only addressed the scandals with my older children who have either already heard the news or who were likely to hear it.  We need to be honest and let them know we are angry, hurt, and disgusted.  We also need to reassure them that we do not put our faith in men but in Christ.  Popes, cardinals, bishops are not the Church and she will survive this trial as she has survived countless others.  Finally, we should remind our children why we are Catholic in the first place.  The Church is the one true Church, founded by Christ and the gates of hell will not prevail against her.

Just as we need to address the shocking events with our older children, many of us may also need to answer the questions of those outside our faith.  Once again, acknowledge the sinfulness and your own personal ire and disappointment.  Remain firm in defending the Church as a whole and your commitment to remaining Catholic.  Express hope that the Church will address the root causes of the depravity and will make some serious changes that will protect children, teens, and seminarians from now on.

In the future, how do we parents protect our children? 

First of all, we need to be wise and prudent parents.  We should never leave our children in the company of a lone adult who is not immediate family.  I know this sounds extreme, but the one thing I was most taken aback by was that McCarrick and others were so completely trusted by the families of their victims that they thought nothing of allowing their children to be in the abuser’s company alone. This was a tragic and avoidable mistake.

Secondly, listen to your child.  If they come to you with questions or concerns about an adult or other authority figure, hear them out.  Ask questions and take what they tell you seriously.  Many of the victims reached out and were not listened to, which is absolutely heart-breaking.

It’s so important to teach your children appropriate boundaries with adults and authority figures.  Sadly, we need to have these conversations at younger ages than ever before and I, for one, hate that we have to impinge on their innocence in this way but it has become a necessity.  Elizabeth Foss wrote an excellent article addressing this need in light of the recent disgrace.  I highly recommend reading her article and following her sage advice.

Finally, we can turn to the sacraments and pray for the protection of our children’s innocence. As a family, make a practice of frequent confession and try to attend Mass at least one extra day a week. Pray continually for the protection of your children’s innocence, especially imploring the intercession of their guardian angels.  We have been given a very precious and important gift in being parents and it is our responsibility to protect and defend them to the best of our abilities.

A final action item for the Domestic Church relates to our diocesan bishops.  I believe we have a duty to write our bishops, expressing our dismay and concerns regarding the recent news about the immorality of McCarrick, the abuses in Pennsylvania, and the rumors that many in the USCCB and Church hierarchy knew, remained silent, and did nothing.  Ask your bishop how he intends to respond and if he will make it a priority to address the crisis in November at the annual conference.  In closing let him know you are praying for him and all the Church.

For whatever reason, God is allowing this tribulation to come to a head.  We must remain firm and cling to our Faith in this time of trial.  Holy Mother Church will survive.  We have Christ’s word for it.  Pray. Do Penance. Take Courage. Remain in Hope.

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40 Days of Prayer for Healing

I, like many Catholics around the US and the world, have been shocked and horrified to learn details of abuse at the hands of clergy over the past seven decades in Pennsylvania. Stunned to silence was my first reaction. Numb. Then the reality of it all, the placing myself into the heads and hearts of the victims whose voice was silenced caused a visceral reaction. I found myself unable to eat as the stress of it all bubbled to the top. I was stirred to do something and decided to forgo our seven year anniversary giveaway on August 18, instead focusing on creating a prayer campaign on a wing and a prayer the day before it would start. I don’t have eloquent words that soothe the aching heart. I’m heartbroken for the victims. What I am going to do is share some poignant words by a bishop and former priest of one of my childhood parishes in Austin, Texas. Below, you will find his letter, followed by a prayer, then the list of petitions, graphics, and concluding prayers. Readers and fans alike have full permission to use and share the graphics and petitions on their social media. 


40 Days of Prayer for Healing


PRAYER

by Richard Cardinal Cushing

O Almighty Eternal God our Father, 

look upon the face of Your Son, 

and for love of Him Who is the Eternal High Priest,

have pity on Your priests.

Remember, O most compassionate God,

that they are but weak and frail human beings.

Stir up in them the grace of their vocation which is in them,

so that they may never do anything in the slightest degree unworthy

of their sublime vocation. Amen.


THE PETITIONS

40 Days of Prayer for Healing – August 18 – September 26

Day 1: For all victims of abuse, especially those who have been hurt by the Church and her ministers.
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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #PrayForTheCatholicChurch #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 2: Lord, we give you great thanks that you have called many out of silence to name the hidden abuse.
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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 3: For victims who have been traumatized by sexual abuse – may God protect and free you from further abuse, and heal your wounds.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 4: For victims who have yet to come forward – that they will find that inner courage to reach out, call for help, and find a community of support where they can begin to heal.

This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 5: For those who have been sexually abused and who do not know how to find words to name their pain or a way into the future.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 6: For all who have been sexually assaulted, and for whom these scandals are opening up old wounds. May you find comfort in Jesus in the Eucharist – Body, Blood, Soul & Divinity.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 7: For victims of abuse – that they know their suffering is not a punishment from God.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 8: For the laity – help us, too, to be instruments of your peace and to assist the victims of sexual abuse and their families and support them as they move toward a better future.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 9: Lord, we trust that your light will outshine any doubt, despair, or hurt experienced by these victims of sexual abuse. Bring them through these trials to the kindness and goodness they justly deserve.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 10: For a call to conversion, reparation, and purification from within the Church from all evils.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 11: We pray that the Spirit of Wisdom enlightens people to put an end to acts of violence and abuse.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 12: For our parish communities (especially those most deeply affected by these scandals and crimes) – that we become as compassionate and sensitive toward these victims as Jesus would be.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 13: We pray for people who have been abused whether physically, mentally, emotionally or sexually
that the Lord of all tenderness and compassion will restore them and give them peace.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 14: For our parish communities – that we might not judge these victims but offer them the support they need to be free from this abuse.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 15: For right and healthy relationships that can overcome abuse in all its forms.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 16: Let us pray for all in the Church, both laity and clergy, whose faith has been shaken by the abuse scandals.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 17: God of compassion and love we ask you to heal the families and friends of those who have been abused. May Mary, the mother of your son, protect and comfort them.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 18: Help us to hear their cries of pain and to take responsibility for so many broken lives.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 19: For healing professionals who minister to those who suffer from violence and abuse, that God would give them the necessary strength, wisdom, and compassion in their ministry, we pray to the Lord…

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 20: We pray that within their communities and families, victims may find understanding and support so that with the help of your grace their wounds may be healed, and they may again know peace.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 21: Let us pray for forgiveness for the crimes and sins of sexual, physical, emotional and spiritual abuse perpetrated by clergy and servants of the Church against children and young people.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 22: For our priests be faithful to their vocation.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 23: God of compassion and love, we pray for healing and peace for all those who have been abused and whose suffering is ongoing.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 24: For priests who are weak; strengthen them, O Lord.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 25: For your faithful and fervent priests.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 26: “Suffer the little children to come unto me”, we pray that your Church may be a secure home where all children and vulnerable adults are brought closer to your Beloved Son.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 27: God of compassion and love help us to cherish, respect and protect the young and the vulnerable at all times.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 28: For your tempted priests.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 29: God of compassion and love we ask your forgiveness for the deaf ears, the blind eyes and the hard hearts of those in authority in your Church.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 30: May the hands of our priests know only how to bless.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 31: For priestly renewed commitment to rightly ordered sexuality through the virtue of chastity.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 32: For Your unfaithful and tepid priests.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 33: Let us pray for forgiveness for all those in authority in the Church who failed to respond as good shepherds to those abused by priests and religious.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 34: Let us pray that we may be a community that actively cares for and protects children and vulnerable members of our society.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 35: For the perpetrators of sexual abuse – that they would stop their abuse immediately, seek professional help, and call down God’s grace to overcome their sinful actions.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 36: God of compassion and love heal the hearts of all those in our Church who have been saddened and whose faith has been shaken by the abuse scandals.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 37: Let us pray for the survivors of abuse who have been psychologically harmed and spiritually damaged by people claiming to be followers of your Son.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 38: For the perpetrators of sexual abuse, may they know God’s love and seek help for conversion and healing.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 39: Lord, we are so sorry for what some of us did to Your children: treated them so cruelly, especially in their hour of need. We have left them with a lifelong suffering. This was not Your plan for them or us. Please help us to help them. Guide us, Lord. Amen.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 40: God our rock and our strength on whom we lean, help us to create an atmosphere of trust which allows the unspeakable to be said. Help us to live with our painful memories. May we support each other and be safe places for each other. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//


LINKS TO PETITIONS AND GRAPHICS

I have saved the graphics and petitions to a dropbox folder. Please click here to download and use however you see fit.


THE GRAPHICS

 


CONCLUDING PRAYER

Dear God, we ask You to help all those who suffer from abuse. Help them find healing and peace in their life. May Maria Goretti who was strengthened by Your Grace join with us in prayer for healing of all victims of abuse, particularly those abused as children or young adults. Grant us Your Love that we might reach out to them in Your Name with hope in times of trial. As Maria prayed for her attacker, grant us the grace to pray for the true conversion of all involved with the abuse, that they might seek Your Mercy through prayer and penance. Loving God, pour into our hearts and lives Your healing Spirit, that the sacredness of every human person might be respected and protected as the precious image of God. Help us to live in the peace which Maria Goretti had found in Christ and in the love of his mother Mary.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Categories
Ink Slingers Martina Offering your suffering Prayer Priesthood Vocations

10 Great Ways to Make Your Priest’s Father’s Day ROCK!

10 Great Ways to Make Your Priest's Father's Day ROCK!
Josie and Father Jonathan go all the way back! When Father Jonathan left St. William, she, at age 2 – along with her siblings – worked on their interviews for Father J. This made such an impression on him that he taped this up on the wall of his office at his next parish assignment!

You’ve probably got Father’s Day all cinched up right now (hey, I’m just tryna be positive 😉 ), but what about your parish priest? You know, the fella on the altar who consecrates the bread and wine into Jesus – Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. What about that guy? He’s your spiritual father! Today, we’re going to cover some quick and easy ways to help your priest feel loved on Father’s Day. Let’s get started! Don’t forget to take a listen (at the bottom of this post) to the Father’s Day homily by Father Michael Sullivan, given on Father’s Day 2016 at my home parish, St. William Catholic Church in Round Rock, Texas. 

  1. Find him before or after Mass and tell him Happy Father’s Day! 
  2. Mail or hand deliver an actual Father’s Day card to your parish priest/s. Be sure to let them know you are praying for him and his work in building up the Kingdom.
  3. Have the kiddos draw him some lovely artwork for his office, or you can do a fun interview with the kids to give him. Josie, who is almost eight now, still gets a big kick out of this interview she did for Father Jonathan when she was two!
  4. Does he love Sonic, McDonald’s, or some other fast food place? Pick up a gift card (any amount will do!) and toss it in the Father’s Day card!
❤ SCROLL PAST THE PHOTOS TO SEE EXTRAS TO MAKE YOUR PRIEST FEEL LOVED ❤
10 Great Ways to Make Your Priest's Father's Day ROCK!
Josie and Drew with Father Jonathan on May 20, 2018.
Great Ways to Make Your Priest's Father's Day ROCK!
Father Michael Sullivan with Joshua and Drew on the last day of Conquest. This annual boys camp is always the week following Father’s Day. The two oldest boys have both attended for going on nine years!
Great Ways to Make Your Priest's Father's Day ROCK!
Josie along with big brother (and seasoned altar boy of eight years) bring up gifts to Father Dean. She specifically asked for a Sunday to celebrate her First Holy Communion when Father Dean could celebrate Mass.
Great Ways to Make Your Priest's Father's Day ROCK!
Receiving Jesus in the Eucharist.
Great Ways to Make Your Priest's Father's Day ROCK!
She was so excited to share her special day with Father Dean.
Great Ways to Make Your Priest's Father's Day ROCK!
Father Uche and Joshua had a special bond in the time he was at St. William. Here we said goodbye as he moved on to his next priestly assignment.
Great Ways to Make Your Priest's Father's Day ROCK!
Father Uche put on a soccer camp for kiddos and Drew participated.
Great Ways to Make Your Priest's Father's Day ROCK!
Father Uche and my husband played soccer (along with several St. William staff) for about a year. On Josie’s birthday, we found Father Uche and asked him to bless this sweet girl.
Great Ways to Make Your Priest's Father's Day ROCK!
On Scout Sunday, Paige brought up gifts to Father Uche at Mass. Afterward, we grabbed a snap of the two of them.
Great Ways to Make Your Priest's Father's Day ROCK!
Father Uche gives Josie a ‘hi five’ at Vacation Bible School and then made a beeline to ask me why her name tag said “Mary,” lol. #MaryJosephine
Great Ways to Make Your Priest's Father's Day ROCK!
Drew and Father Michael Sullivan at the end of Conquest Boys Camp in 2015.
Great Ways to Make Your Priest's Father's Day ROCK!
Father Jonathan came over for dinner and Josie always makes sure we take a picture of the two of them, lol. #BUDDIES
Great Ways to Make Your Priest's Father's Day ROCK!
Even when Father Uche is at another parish and he says “I need to speak to your daughter, bring her to Jesus Is Lord” in another city, you know what you do? You throw her in the car and take her to see Father Uche, lol.
Great Ways to Make Your Priest's Father's Day ROCK!
Drew asked Father Dean to celebrate his First Holy Communion in 2016.

EXTRAS

What else can you do to help your priest know he is loved and appreciated, especially in big parishes?

  1. Invite him over for dinner! Seriously, it doesn’t have to be fancy – pizza will do. Need some inspiration? Check out our Pinterest Food.Meals board!
  2. Ask him if he will celebrate sacraments for your kiddos! In our case, our kids actually request our pastor because there is a level of comfort in that relationship. We have created a priestly culture and our kids know how church works – get there early so the boys can serve, say prayers, and then ask if we can see Father Dean. Every. Sunday. He greets everyone between Masses, so we head to the narthex and join him to say hello, greet folks, and let the littles run around outside to burn off some energy. I may or may not utilize that time to see how his week has gone and if he can pray a little extra over the one kid who acts like he’s never stepped foot in a church before – uh hem. 
  3. Offer to make a meal – fresh or for the freezer. Call ahead of time and find out likes/dislikes and what he prefers. Some priests love to cook and others can’t even look at a recipe card without sweating. 😉 
  4. Send an email (or text if you’re at that comfort level) and fill them in with the latest with your family. Often times, priests only hear about folks problems, which is part of the job, but sharing in some of the highlights of your family life can be a huge blessing. 
  5. In times of distress, ask for their prayers. Additionally, let them know you are offering up your suffering for their tireless work. Priests have a target on their back and Satan does not take a day off. Knowing you are praying for them and offering up struggles for them can go a long way. They definitely need all the prayers we can send their way! When I had an emergency appendectomy, both Father Dean and Father Uche came to see me at the hospital to pray over me and to pray Vespers together. I was hooked up to all kinds of machines and it was kind of comical, but I was so glad to have them there with me. Father Dean and his dry, German sense of humor and Father Uche and his Oxford English accent despite being from Nigeria. What made it all the better was listening to the two of them bicker like true brother priests. Another time, right after we experienced our first (of three) miscarriages, our parish priests reached out to me and my family in one of the most pastoral ways. They made themselves available in ways that were unique to their personalities. One priest researched burial logistics and another asked to talk to me because he knew I was suffering. This man – this diocesan priest whose schedule is filled from first light of day until the stars come out and here he was asking if he could call me and talk to me.  These men have and still are treasures to our family.
  6. Has your priest been reassigned? This is the time of year when the diocesan reassignments have been announced. Here’s one great way to help your priest feel the love of the parishioners and it takes very little effort, you’ll be glad to know!

What would you add to this list? Share in the comments!

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Dads: We salute You | Vocations: Priesthood