Saturday, May 31, 2003

The Novena for Priests: We must pray!

This is a picture of the three bishops who belong to us in Milwaukee. Replace this picture in your mind with the picture of the bishops where you are, and offer that image to God, and ask God to give to them courage and strength, and any special gifts and graces they may need. Repeat liberally and regularly.

This is an image from one year ago today, of a priest of God at a public chapter of faults. We, every one of us, have sinned and have done some incredibly stupid things; very few of us have been subjected to public confession and penance over them. Do not just pray for the perfect priests, for there are no such, since they are chosen from among us. Pray for them all, even the ones who aggravate you, even the ones who have failed.

Today is the first day of a nation-wide novena for our priests. More information is at the site Here is the novena prayer they suggest:

Jesus, Good Shepherd,
You sent us the Holy Spirit to guide Your Church
and lead her faithful to You through the ministry of Your priests.

Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, grant to Your priests
wisdom in leading,
faithfulness in teaching,
and holiness in guarding Your sacred Mysteries.

As they cry out with all the faithful, "Abba, Father!"
may Your priests be ever more closely identified with You
in Your divine Sonship
and offer their own lives with You, the one saving Victim.

Make them helpful brothers of one another,
and understanding fathers of all Your people.

On this Pentecost Sunday, renew in Your priests deeper faith,
greater trust in You,
childlike reliance on our Mother Mary,
and unwavering fidelity to the Holy Father and his bishops.

Holy Mary, intercede for your priests.
St. Joseph, protect them.
St. Michael, defend them.
St. John Vianney, pray for them.

and I'd like to suggest personally that the Prayer for Preist-penitents also be added to this, since we so often neglect to pray for those who have ever failed us, and so many who had served their penalties for their sins and had been restored and redeemed have been sent away to exile in this past year, and they need our prayers also and especially.

Lord, we pray for your priests who must now go away from us. They have reformed their lives, they have been penitent, they have been restored and have given us your word and your sacraments faithfully. Yet now, for the good of the whole Church, they must go into anonymous exile.

Lord, you know them, every one. Give them the courage and strength and grace to bear this for you and your holy Church. Support and heal them, as you did Miriam in her leprous shame, and as you did David the King after his great crimes. Let your light shine in and through them, as it did in Margaret of Cortona and Mary of Egypt, in your anonymous one of Sachsenhausen, and in so many of your holy penitents through all ages.

We, who are also sinners, beg this of you, our all-good Lord. Amen.


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