Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Pray for Priests

Tonite our associate pastor came over for dinner. Father R. has been at our parish for almost a year now. He is the third associate in three years and we have no small sense of apprehension because we fear we will get too attached and lose him too. The positive aspect of this is that the very human tendency to form a "cult of personality" gets diminished when the tenure of the pastor is short. The negative aspect is that its hard to part company once the bonds of friendship and fellowship are forged. The interesting thing that I have noticed is that our community doesn't change in size when a pastor comes or goes. In my limited three year experience, I think Catholics tend to have less of a "follow the pastor mentality" though I am sure in some parishes that exists. We realize that regardless of how dynamic the preaching is or isn't or how charismatic he is or isn't, Jesus comes to us in every Mass at the hands of the priest. Christ works through the sacraments dispensed by the priest regardless of his piety, sanctity or popularity!
Before he left we prayed the Liturgy of the Hours together and he gave us a blessing.
Let us all remember our priests in prayer and to pray for more vocations. Without our priests, we couldn't receive the sacraments. Thanks Father R. for being a faithful servant of God.

Prayer for Priests from Therese of Lisieux
O Jesus, eternal Priest,
keep your priests within the shelter of Your Sacred Heart,
where none may touch them.
Keep unstained their anointed hands,
which daily touch Your Sacred Body.
Keep unsullied their lips,
daily purpled with your Precious Blood.
Keep pure and unearthly their hearts,
sealed with the sublime mark of the priesthood.
Let Your holy love surround them and
shield them from the world's contagion.
Bless their labors with abundant fruit and
may the souls to whom they minister be their joy and consolation here and in heaven their beautiful and
everlasting crown. Amen.


Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

And without the sacraments...I hate to think about that! I LOVE our priests and I love this prayer for them by St. Therese. We lay people have NO IDEA the massive burden that these dear, precious souls really do they "do burn out" for souls as they labor with Christ in the Church. I'm so glad to also know we're not going to the "Pastor show" anymore. I don't mean that to be so crass sounding but that's what many of the Christian fellowships have been reduced to and it's very sad.

When our elder pastor at the Interdenom church we belonged to for 13 years retired, nearly 1/2 the congregation simply left - and *poof* they were gone! It may happen in the CC too, but I do know that most Catholics just don't think that way. I'm so comforted by the fact that there are a great many in our parish who've been there since its inception bakc in 1966. Many long time members and families. It's the Eucharist that bonds, nothing and no one else can ever replace our Blessed Sacrament!

Thanks TJ.


July 06, 2007 3:19 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

"nearly 1/2 the congregation simply left - and *poof* they were gone"
I have experienced that to some degree as well, long ago, and sadly it often left many broken and hostile relationships between the warring factions.
In Communion, the definition literally meaning "with union" as Fr. R has reminded me, we have a unity with one another that goes beyond an allegiance with a particular pastor. One bread, one body as St Paul would say. Through his body and blood, we become one with him and each other. A pastor leaving a parish won't cause that unity to be broken.
If anything proves it, look at the priest abuse scandal and cover ups in the early 2000's. Many said it would be the death knell for Catholicism.(I predicted this myself before I was reconciled to the Church) Yet the numbers didn't drop off and the collection plate didn't grow lighter.

July 06, 2007 4:25 PM  
Anonymous Father R. said...

Okay, before I begin let me assure you that once you have entered the life of THIS priest, you are never removed (unless it is YOUR choice). As I shared with you and PD on Thursday, I have been associated with some 18 parishes in the 15 years of my priesthood. To date (and I am not saying this out of pride) I have close to 500 addresses on my Christmas card list and regularly keep in touch with many of them and others. Since I have been at your parish, many former parishioners have come to visit me and some have called me to ask for my advice regarding personal situations they find themselves in at the present time. Whether I have been gone 3 months or 12 years, they are genuinely interested in my thoughts and feelings. Also, it feels good to know that even though my time at some of the parishes is limited, I have still made an impression on the lives of so many good Catholics. I am edified by the gift of my priesthood and the people that the Lord has put into my life.
In short, just try to get rid of me. Thanks for the welcome into your home.

July 06, 2007 9:04 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

We are humbled and thankful to know you!
God bless

July 06, 2007 10:23 PM  
Anonymous Theo said...

I notice, Tiber, that you and PD not only pray for our priests, but you also pray *with* our priests. Bravo.

I sometimes visit a regional retirement community of priests of our diocese. It is a joy and blessing to attend the Mass these mature servants of God concelebrate daily.

Living among them is Father B----, a priest who had a profound positive influence on me when I was a young boy. Sometimes as we pray together, I get a sense of both the spiritual import and natural affirmation this simple joining brings: the import in that Jesus is wherever two or more are gathered in His name, and the affirmation for Father B----, knowing his sacrificial ministry fifty years' past still bears a measure of fruit today. How humbling to have the same priest who heard your first confession hear your umpteenth, decades later!

God bless our priests; and may God grant us the privilege of being one of His means to do so.

Gratefully submitted,

July 09, 2007 11:30 AM  

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