As Summer Approaches
It has been a full year indeed! As we re-enter Ordinary Time this weekend, we do so filled with so many graces: of the joy of the Resurrection at Easter, of the Lord’s promise to be with us “always, until the end of time” at his Ascension, realized in the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and deepened in our pondering of the mysteries of the Holy Trinity and of Christ’s self-gift in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood.
This week marks two other great feasts: the Sacred Heart, a beautiful symbol of Christ’s heart burning with compassion for his people, and the Nativity of St. John the Baptist – the last and greatest of the prophets, who proclaimed the coming of Christ, and who is honoured in a special way here in Quebec as our patron saint.
In 2002, Pope John Paul II established that on the solemnity of the Sacred Heart, the Church should observe the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests. In my new ministry as episcopal vicar, I find myself working more and more closely with our priests, and in doing so, I encounter both the usual signs of human brokenness but also a desire to serve the Lord and his people in holiness and truth. Indeed, in St. Paul’s words, we “carry a treasure in earthen vessels.” So let us join our prayers with those of Catholics around the world who, this past Friday, offered their prayers and sacrifices that all priests might fulfil their vocation to be for the world the heart of Christ, the good and true Shepherd:Eternal God, please bless our priests, who represent you on this earth. Make them more greatly aware of the grace that you pour out through them when they minister the sacraments, and help them to fall more deeply in love with You with each and every Mass that they celebrate. Please strengthen our priests, who shepherd your flock, when they are in doubt of their faith, that they may be examples of your Truth and guide us always on the path to you. We ask these things, O Lord, through Christ our Eternal Priest. Amen.