God Bless You All
As we celebrate World Priest Day, 2010, I offer my prayers and heartfelt gratitude to all the priests who have in one way or another touched my life, those who have celebrated the sacraments with me, those who have written things that have inspired me, those who have prayed and worked to overcome the challenges that have come their way that would crush weaker men.
They have included Father John Pirt, our pastor at St. George Parish here in London, Ontario, who celebrated with My Dear Wife and I and gathered friends and relatives, this past summer, the convalidation of our marriage in the Catholic Church. Of course, I think also of Father Sam Johnston, the 84 year old retired priest of our diocese, who challenged me (and My Dear Wife indirectly) to get on with it, and Father Tim Moyle, the author of Where the Rubber Hits the Road blog, who on the day of our convalidation said his own mass for us.
Other priests have ministered to me or us over the recent years, our former pastor Father Jim Mockler, and Father Clement Agamba, of Tucson, by way of Ghana.
One priest has stood out in my mind for many, many years, Father Michael Prieur, of St. Peter's Seminary, a priest faithful to his vocation of teaching young priest aspirants in the ways of our beautiful Church, and who has so often shared his smile, and wisdom with me, even if I was not listening, or if he thought I was not listening with my heart.
Over the years, I have met priests at St. Peter's Seminary who have become bishops, Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary, and Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto. I also have had the opportunity to meet and speak with the retired Bishop of London, Ontario, John Michael Sherlock, both prior to his retirement and subsequently. These men do not really know who I am, as my encountering them was brief, but they touched me with their faith and faithfulness, and their humanity.
I have encountered some priests by their faithful writing in defense of Holy Mother the Church on the Internet, including Monsignor Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington, Father James Farfaglia of Corpus Christi, Texas, and the afore mentioned Father Tim Moyle of the Diocese of Pembroke Ontario.
Some have left the priesthood, Father Chris Beausoleil, who was a close friend, and who taught me much will remain in my heart as a priest, for the priestly way that he loved and encouraged me for many years.
And there are two priests for whom I have an ache in my heart. They are Father Gordon MacRae, and Father Mark Gruber.
Those who have read this blog and the These Stone Walls blog Father Gordon writes, will know of the case of this faithful priest, who now ministers in the New Hampshire state prison, where he is an inmate, having been falsely charged and convicted of phantom child molestation, during a money grab by litigants, and failure to protect him by his own diocesan administration over 16 years ago.
You may also have read the strange and frustrating case of Father Mark Gruber, whose archabbot has removed his priestly faculties, in essence because someone used his computer (and subsequently confessed) to view homosexual pornography. There, of course, is more to the story than meets the eye, and you can google it and find out more of the truth, or you can use my search box to find what I have written and linked here at Freedom Through Truth.
These two men are living the Crucifixion daily, and joining their sufferings with Our Dear Saviour in a way that most of us do not have to, and maybe could not even.
But, all the above priests in their station in life, are "Alter Christus", and bring Jesus to us in the Eucharist, and in the other sacraments instituted by Christ to bring grace to His people.
Deacon Greg Kandra came across a posting of this rendition of the Litany of the Saints, and I offer it up for you, along with my daily prayers of the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, and Liturgy of the Hours, along with the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as I attend.
You, Dear Fathers in the Lord, are loved. May God Bless you all, and all other priests who have touched my life, and indeed all priests throughout the world, both living and those who have gone before, in your ministries to the people of God.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in your love for all these men, and all men who have taken Holy Orders. Mother Mary, you our mother, who love all the priests who are Alter Christus for your Divine Son here on earth, surround them with your mantle of protection and frustrate the powers of Satan in their lives and in the lives of their loved ones.
St. Michael and their guardian angels, come defend them in battle against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou Oh prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil ones who roam through the earth seeking the ruin of their souls.