A few days ago one of my favorite prayer tools arrived. Twenty tabliod pages of small-but-not-agate print, it's called the 2007 Archdiocesan Directory. It lists every priest of the archdiocese from "Acker, Rev. Karl H." and "Ackeret, Rev. Dennis R." all the way to "Zwaska, Rev. Victor L.", every parish from "Allenton, Resurrection" to "Woodland, St. Mary", and every deacon and deacon's wife, "Acosta, Carlos R. (Iris)" to "Zozakiewicz, Daniel T. (Barbara)".
As I prayed through the list of our priests last night, holding each one before the Lord, so many different thoughts ----
There are so many, still, who have remained able, and devoted, and faithful, and enduring. Some of whom are listed with multiple assignments. A few of whom were ordained before I was born. May the Lord sustain and strengthen them all.
and there are names who are missing now, who were there in previous years. Some have died; their souls are commended to God. A few have gone into the shadows as the after-effects of the Charter in Dallas; I pray the prayer for priest-penitents for them, that they may remain strong and faithful in this kenosis. One or two have been suspended about current bad acts, a few more may have just left; may the Lord be merciful to them.
Pray for your priests, and for all priests. We need them, it is by their hands that the Lord fulfills His promise to be our very food and drink, to life true and eternal, it is by their voice that we are assured of the forgiveness of our sins. And they need us, to plead for them, to give them strength to stay, for the task is so great, and their humanity so weak.
Pray for them. Hold them up, lest they crumple and fail under the load.
We have no Eucharist, and no absolution, without them.