By Fr. Hien
3. Vocation Culture in the Diocesan Community
3.4 The Priests
We find solace and support from one another particularly at clergy events within the Archdiocese. We cherish our friendships with other priests, so much so that the absence of the friendships can make us depressed or leave us with the feeling of being alone or even betrayed in the ministry. We agree that we need one another’s prayers and support to be more effective in God’s work.
We find consolation in our relationship with God, first when it is most deeply nurtured by the celebration of the Eucharist and second when we personally encounter God in prayer. The other sacraments, particularly confession and anointing of the sick, bring us into the mind and heart of Christ so that in administering Christ’s graces through the sacraments we are left profoundly affected by acting in His person. The sacraments revitalize our ministry and lives, and they deepen our union with Christ. When proclaiming His word during homilies, talks, or personal sharing, we are ourselves encouraged to live the teaching of Christ and his Church. We also find that retreats, days of recollection, and pilgrimages help strengthen our relationship with Christ.
For religious, we find that personal holiness is promoted by the unity within our respective communities, the obedience we give our superiors, and our personal relationships with the people of the same religious family.
What we value most about our priesthood is our identity with Christ, which is manifested particularly in celebrating Mass and administering the sacraments. Like Christ, we are living out our vocation and our mission through the total giving of ourselves to infuse hearts with the love of God. Aware of our own faults and failings, we are able through our ministry to bring forgiveness and peace to those who are reaching out for the Lord. We are able to live in ‘Persona Christi’ through ordination and to serve Christ the Teacher, Priest and Shepherd through our preaching the gospel, sustaining God’s people, and celebrating the liturgy.
We are able to live in ‘Persona Christi’ through ordination and to serve Christ the Teacher, Priest and Shepherd through our preaching the gospel, sustaining God’s people, and celebrating the liturgy.
These are the traits we (priests) all must possess:
- A man of communion
- A good communicator
- A prudent and discerning person
- A person of affective maturity
- One who respects, cares for, and has vigilance over his body
- One who can take on the role of a public person
- A free person – to be who he is in God’s design
- A person of solid moral character with a firmly developed conscience
- A good shepherd of material possessions (1)
Why should men follow us?
A young man should seriously consider the priesthood when he feels Christ is calling him to this ministry. He should accept the call out of love for Christ, knowing that there is no life like the life of a priest. It is not a life for the weak of heart but for the strong and the adventurous. It is a life that has its excitements and suffering, its challenges and joys: a life with a great sense of fulfillment. While a man enjoys these terrific aspects of the priesthood he is also providing the world with fulfillment of its greatest need: the need to be connected to the love of Christ.
The following are the compelling reasons we gave for considering a vocation to the priesthood:
- It is a fulfilling and meaningful vocation.
- We are the instruments that unite humanity with Christ, so we lead others to a closer encounter with Christ.
- The need for Christ in the world is great and we as priests can fulfill that need directly.
- Christ’s work leads to happiness so we should not be afraid.
- Whether we discern to be a priest or not, in the process of discernment we have come closer to Christ because we have opened ourselves up to follow his will.
1-G. Coleman, Catholic