June 21, 2023 at 12:45 a.m.

Pray for and love your priest

Tom Cronin is the Director of Evangelization & Strategic Planning in the Diocese of Albany.  Contact Tom with any questions about boosting evangelization efforts at your parish at Thomas.Cronin@rcda.org or by visiting www.rcda.org/evangelization. Follow me on Instagram: tom_rcda.
Tom Cronin is the Director of Evangelization & Strategic Planning in the Diocese of Albany. Contact Tom with any questions about boosting evangelization efforts at your parish at [email protected] or by visiting www.rcda.org/evangelization. Follow me on Instagram: tom_rcda.

By Thomas Cronin | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Do you love your priest? My apologies if that is an awkward question to kick off this week’s column, but it is a critical question that needs to be asked and contemplated.

I believe that “we the people are the Church” and although we are many parts, we are immensely powerful when united as one body and centered on Jesus Christ. Our priests play a critical role in leading and journeying with us in many ways, but most especially in the sacraments. As one example, without our priests, we would not be able to celebrate the holy sacrifice of the Mass and the life-giving Sacrament of Holy Eucharist — the source and summit of our faith.

We must love, pray for, and work more collaboratively with our priests. I do not endorse clericalism, but I am wholeheartedly encouraging all Catholics to get to know the man behind the collar. Priests and all those in religious life have accepted a wonderful and sacrificial vocation of answering God’s call and putting God’s will before everything else. Loving and supporting our priests as well as religious women and men is more important now than ever. 

Spiritual warfare and evil are real. We are weak as individuals, but unstoppable when we unite at the foot of the cross and trust in God. No one is immune to the challenges of our world — mental health, physical ailments, addictions, temptations and all the anxieties that life throws at us. Bishop Ed has categorized parishes as a “family of families.” A priest does not hold an empty title of “father,” but he is truly our spiritual father and leader. He is the father of our family of families. A priest can only spiritually feed and nourish his flock to the extent that he is supported, loved and healthy in all areas including physical, emotional, social and spiritual.  Priests are strong, well-formed, well-educated, and well-rounded men. Even while wearing the armor of God, the battle is real and it is easy to get worn down. It’s time for the faithful to have a greater awareness of their role in supporting and loving our priests.   

There are many ways we can support and love our priests more. These include: praying for them; showing gratitude, support and appreciation; not gossiping about parish politics; asking them how you can help and sharing your charism; expressing constructive criticism or negative feedback respectfully and in private; and starting a Seven Sisters Apostolate in your parish or parish network in which a team is assembled to pray a Holy Hour for their parish priest — more info can be found here: SevenSistersApostolate.org. 

Vibrant parishes are achievable when parish families unite in their love for our God, love for our priests, and focus on fulfilling our mission of making disciples of all nations. Join me in a prayer for our priests:

Almighty and all loving God, we thank you for our priests. Through them, we experience your presence in the sacraments.

Help our priests to be strong in their vocation.  Fill their hearts with love for your people.

Grant them the wisdom, understanding, strength, and courage needed to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

Replace tiredness with energy and zeal.  Give them the words they need to spread the Gospel.

Allow them to experience joy in their ministry and share that joy with everyone they encounter.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns as our Eternal Priest.

Amen.

Tom Cronin is the Director of Evangelization in the Diocese of Albany.  Contact Tom with any questions about boosting evangelization efforts at your parish at [email protected] or by visiting https://www.rcda.org/evangelization. Follow me on Instagram: tom_rcda.


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