For Holy Priests 1

in Opus Sanctorum Angelorum

Holy, holy, holy ....

All: Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Your love alone can save the world,
Your love alone can overcome all things!
Let us, therefore, be bearers of Your love!
We want to adore and love You with all
the strength of our heart.

Let us together with You and Mary, with all the angels and saints form a radiant ring of salvation around the world and the Church, especially around the Holy Father, our bishops and priests, and around all those whom we wish to place in Your Heart,
O Holy, Mighty and Immortal God!
© 2009 Order of the Holy Cross. All rights reserved

From the Gospel of St. John (10:1-4.11-16):

"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.

Priests are called to become 'other Christs' among God's people. They truly need our prayers as we need theirs. Let us offer up this Holy Hour on behalf of the sanctification of priests. May the Blessed Virgin look with special affection upon all priests, her well-beloved sons. May she especially inspire in their hearts a burning desire for holiness.

Beginning of the prayers of the Rosary: Creed, Our Father, three Hail Mary's ...

1. Priestly Love for Christ and for Souls
The Cure of Ars is a model of priestly zeal for all pastors. The secret of his generosity is to be found without doubt in his love for God, lived without limits, in constant response to the love made manifest in Christ crucified. This is where he bases his desire to do everything to save the souls ransomed by Christ at such a great price, and to bring them back to the love of God. He used to say: "The priesthood is the love of the Heart of Jesus." In his sermons and catechesis he continually returned to that love: "O my God, I prefer to die loving you than to live a single instant without loving you ... I love you, my divine Savior, because you were crucified for us ... because you have me crucified for you." For the sake of Christ, he seeks to conform himself exactly to the radical demands that Jesus in the Gospels puts before the disciples whom he sends out: prayer, poverty, humility, self-denial, voluntary penance. And, like Christ, he has a love for his flock that leads him to extreme pastoral commitment and self-sacrifice. Rarely has a pastor been so acutely aware of his responsibilities, so consumed by a desire to wrest his people from the sins of their luke warmness. "O my God, grant me the conversion of my parish: I consent to suffer whatever you wish, for as long as I live."

Let give thanks to God for the gift of the priesthood and let us pray in this decade for all priests, that strengthened by the love of the Heart of Jesus they may be generous shepherds willing to lay down their lives for the sheep.
Decade of the Rosary

Mary, Mother of Priests, pray for priests.
St. John Vianney, patron of priests, pray for priests.

All. Lord Jesus, You have chosen Your priests from among us and sent them out to proclaim Your word and act in Your name. For so great a gift to Your Church, we give You praise and thanksgiving, we ask You to fill them with the fire of Your love, that their ministry may reveal Your presence in the Church. Since they are earthen vessels, we pray that Your power shine out through their weakness. In their afflictions let them never be crushed; in their doubts, never despair; in temptation, never be destroyed; in persecution, never abandoned. Inspire them through prayer to live each day the mystery of Your dying and rising. In times of weakness, send Your Spirit, and help them to praise Your Heavenly Father and pray for the poor sinners. By the same Holy Spirit put Your word on their lips and Your love in their hearts, to bring good news to the poor and healing to the broken-hearted. And may the gift of Mary, Your Mother, to the disciple whom You loved, be Your gift to every priest. Grant that she who formed You in her human image, may form them in Your Divine Image, by the power of Your Spirit, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

2. For Abundant Fruits of the Priestly Ministry
The results of the priestly ministry of the holy Cure of Ars were indeed wonderful. Through St. John Mary Vianney, who consecrates his whole strength and his whole heart to Christ, Jesus saves souls. The Savior entrusts souls to him, in abundance. First, his lukewarm parish which will be profoundly changed. The bishop had warned John Mary Vianney: "There is not much love of God in that parish, you will put some there." But quite soon, the Cure becomes the pastor of a multitude. It is said that 80,000 came in the year 1858! People sometimes waited for days to see him, to go to confession to him. What attracted them to him was not merely curiosity nor even a reputation justified by miracles and extraordinary cures, which the saint would wish to hide. It was much more the realization of meeting a saint, amazing for his penance, so close to God in prayer, remarkable for his peace and humility in the midst of popular acclaim, and above all so intuitive in responding to the inner disposition of souls and in freeing them from their burdens, especially in the confessional. Yes, God chose as a model for pastors one who could have appeared poor, weak, defenseless and contemptible in the eyes of men. He graced them with his best gifts as a guide and healer of souls.

Let us give thanks to God for the gift of the priesthood. Let us pray in this decade that our priest consecrate their whole strength and their whole heart to Jesus, so that He be able to save souls through them. Let us pray for an abundant harvest in God's vineyard.
Decade of the Rosary

Mary, Mother of Priests, pray for priests.
St. John Vianney, patron of priests, pray for priests.

All. 0 Almighty, Eternal God, look upon the Face of Your Son and for love of Him, who is the Eternal High Priest, have pity on Your priests. Remember, 0 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 by the imposition of the bishop's hands. Keep them close to You, lest the enemy prevail against them, so that they may never do anything in the slightest degree unworthy of their sublime vocation. 0 Jesus, I pray for Your faithful and fervent priests; for Your unfaithful and tepid priests; for Your priests laboring at home or abroad in distant mission fields; for Your tempted priests; for the lonely and desolate priests; for Your young priests; for Your dying priests; for the souls of Your priests in purgatory. But above all, I commend to You the priests dearest to me, the priest who baptized me, the priests who have absolved me from my sins, the priests at whose Masses I have assisted and who have offered me Your Body and Blood in Holy Communion, the priests who have taught and instructed me or helped and encouraged me, and the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way. 0 Jesus, keep them all close to Your Heart, and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen.

3. The Sacrament for Reconciliation
It is undoubtedly his untiring devotion to the Sacrament of Reconciliation which revealed the principle charism of the Cure of Ars and is rightly the reason for his renown. The first care of the Cure of Ars was to teach the faithful to desire repentance. He stressed the beauty of God's forgiveness. All his priestly life and all his strength was dedicated to the conversion of sinners. It was above all in the confessional that God's mercy manifested itself. So he did not wish to get rid of the penitents who came from all parts and to whom he often devoted ten hours or more hours a day. For him this was undoubtedly the greatest of his mortifications, a form of martyrdom. In the first place it was a martyrdom in the physical sense from the heat, the cold or the suffocating atmosphere. Secondly in the moral sense, for he himself suffered from the sins confessed and even more the lack of repentance: "I weep because you do not weep." In the face of these indifferent people, whom he welcomed as best he could and tried to awaken in them the love of God, the Lord enabled him to reconcile great sinners who were repentant and also to guide to perfection souls thirsting for it. He reminded the faithful constantly of the need to have a real relationship with God, to have a sense of sin when one is closed to God and to others, the need to be converted and through the Church to receive forgiveness as a free gift of God.

Let us give thanks to God for the gift of the Sacrament of Penance and the gift of the priesthood. Let us pray in this decade for priests of zeal and intense spiritual life, so that they be able to enlighten consciences, to be spiritual physicians and counselors, and to forgive the penitents in the name of Christ.
Decade of the Rosary

Mary, Mother of Priests, pray for priests.
St. John Vianney, patron of priests, pray for priests.

All. 0 Jesus, Eternal Priest, keep Your priests within the shelter of Your Most Sacred Heart, where none can touch them. Keep unstained their anointed hands, which daily touch Your Sacred Body. Keep unsullied their lips daily tinged with Your Precious Blood. Keep pure and unworldly their hearts, sealed with the sublime mark of the priesthood. Let Your Holy Love surround and protect 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 their everlasting crown in the hereafter. Amen.

4. Holy Mass and Eucharistic Adoration
Just as Christ began his ministry with the words "Repent and believe in the gospel," so the Cure of Ars generally begins each of his days with the ministry of forgiveness. But he was happy to direct his reconciled penitents to the Eucharist. The Eucharist was at the very center of his spiritual life and pastoral work. He said: "All good works put together are not equivalent to the Sacrifice of the Mass, because they are the works of men and the Holy Mass is the work of God." It is in the Mass that the sacrifice of Calvary is made present for the Redemption of the world. Clearly, the priest must unite the daily gift of himself to the offering of the Mass: How well a priest does, therefore, to offer himself to God in sacrifice every morning! Holy Communion and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass are the two most efficacious actions for obtaining the conversion of hearts. Thus the Mass was for John Mary Vianney the great joy and comfort of his priestly life. He took great care, despite the crowds of penitents, to spend more than a quarter of an hour in silent preparation. He celebrated with recollection, clearly expressing his adoration at the consecration and communion. He accurately remarked: "The cause of priestly laxity is not paying attention to the Mass!" The Cure of Ars generally spent long hours in adoration before the tabernacle before daybreak or in the evening; it was towards the tabernacle that he often turned during his homilies, saying with emotion: "He is there!" He did not hesitate to spend large sums on embellishing his Church. The appreciable result was that his parishioners quickly took up the habit of coming to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, discovering, through the attitude of their pastor, the grandeur of the mystery of faith.

Let us give thanks to God for the gift of the Holy Eucharist and the gift of the priesthood and pray in this decade, that the heart of our priests be deeply touched and transformed by the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist. We pray that Holy Mass may have the first place in their lives celebrating the Sacred Mysteries with great reverence and zeal, and that they be models of Eucharistic Adoration.
Decade of the Rosary

Mary, Mother of Priests, pray for priests.
St. John Vianney, patron of priests, pray for priests.

All. O Jesus, You are the Eternal High Priest. Because You are true God and true man, You are the only Mediator between God and man. Through You, the merciful Father gives man salvation and through You, man is led back to Him. You have established priests as Your collaborators to perpetuate in the Holy Mass, the Sacrifice of Your death on the Cross and to sanctify souls through their ministry. 0 Jesus, choose from all the people of the world worthy and numerous ministers so that all souls may find salvation. 0 Jesus, Savior of the world, sanctify Your priests and seminarians. 0 God, who have established Your only-begotten Son as the Eternal High Priest, grant, we beseech You, that those who are chosen by Christ as ministers of Your mysteries may be kept always faithful in the fulfillment of their service. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

5. The Priestly Ministry of the Word
The Cure of Ars was also careful never to neglect in any way the ministry of the Word, which is absolutely necessary in predisposing people to faith and conversion. He even said: "Our Lord, who is truth itself, considers his Word no less important than his Body." He spent long hours, especially at the beginning, in laboriously composing his Sunday sermons. Later on he came to express himself more spontaneously. He had the courage to denounce evil in all its forms; he did not keep silent, for it was a question of the eternal salvation of his faithful people: "If a pastor remains silent when he sees God insulted and souls going astray, woe to him! If he does not want to be damned, and if there is some disorder in his parish, he must trample upon human respect and the fear of being despised or hated." This responsibility was his anguish as a parish priest. But as a rule, "he preferred to show the attractive side of virtue rather than the ugliness of vice," and if he spoke-sometimes in tears-about sin and the danger for salvation, he insisted on the tenderness of God who has been offended, and the happiness of being loved by God, united to God, living in his presence and for him.

Let us give thanks to God for the gift of His Word and the gift of the Priesthood. Let us pray in this decade that our priests be faithful and courageous proclaimers of the Word of God touching the hearts of the faithful and leading them to conversion.
Decade of the Rosary

Mary, Mother of Priests, pray for priests.
St. John Vianney, patron of priests, pray for priests.

All. All: 0 Jesus, Eternal Pontiff, Good Shepherd, and Fountain of life, who by the special goodness of Your Most Sweet Heart, have given us priests to fulfill in us the designs of sanctification which Your grace inspires in our hearts, we ask You: come to their aid with the assistance of Your mercy. 0 Jesus, may they have in their labors a lively faith; in trials an unwavering trust; in their decisions a burning charity. Grant that Your Word, the irradiation of the Eternal Wisdom, may become through continuous meditation the never failing nourishment of their interior life. Let the example of Your life and passion animate their actions and sustain them in their suffering, so that they may teach, enlighten and comfort us in our sorrows. Lord, grant our priests the grace of detachment from purely worldly concerns. Let them be first and foremost solicitous for Your glory and keep them faithful to their duties. Keep them pure in conscience till their last breath, so that when death comes to the body, they may place into Your hands their mission faithfully accomplished so that they may find in You, Lord Jesus Christ, who on earth were their Master, the prize of the Crown of Justice, in the glory of the saints. Amen.

If time permits, the leader (or each one Silently) can offer drops of the

Jesus, I beg You for a drop of Your most Precious Blood in this hour of Your most bitter agony for [insert intention]
-for the Holy Church
-for our Holy Father
-for our bishops
-for the sanctification of priests
-for vocations to the priesthood and religious life
-for the conversion of sinners
-for our country
-for an end of abortion and contraception
-for an end of divorce
-for sanctification of family life
-for all who are dying
-for the Poor Souls in purgatory
( ... for personal intentions)
Prayers for the intention of the Holy Father

Holy, holy, holy ...

Meditations taken from
John Paul II, Letter to the Priests on Holy Thursday 1986.