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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Appreciation for our Priests and Seminarians

From The Catholic Key
By The Most Reverend Robert W. Finn
Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph

"From the Bishop's Desk"


Over my first four and a half years in the Diocese, I have heard so many testimonies of the dedication and holy service of my brother priests: hours spent in every kind of ministry and the care of souls. "Father took care of my mother as she was dying." "He was there for us when we were going through some real tough times." "Father's prayerfulness at Mass is an inspiration." "He is a good teacher." "When Father was transferred, my kids cried - he meant so much to all of us."

As bishop I am privileged to hear a lot; and yes, I know our human shortcomings as well. But I know this above all: These men - your priests - love God and they love YOU! Years ago, when each of them first heard God's call, they were moved in generosity to say yes. Even when times get rough, they don't look back. Day after day, they give of their "blood, sweat, and tears": being constantly present and available for us.

You may be aware that over the last year or so we have had a number of deaths among our priests. Most of them were retired - but not all. They were wonderful priests - every one of them! And when I had the occasion and privilege of being at their wakes and funerals, I saw what they meant to you. Of course, the complete tally of their good works is known only to God. The spiritual fruits of their Masses and hours in the confessional would be beyond our comprehension. Don't ever stop praying for their eternal peace - just as we pray for our parishioners at every Mass.

How blessed we are. In addition to our diocesan priests, we have many Religious Order priests who serve in parishes and many other ministries. Thanks be to God for them all.

We are also full of hope because of the steady increase in seminarians. Today we have 27 men in various stages of formation. They are answering a call deep within their heart from God - to do something spectacular with their life; to give themselves. Please pray for them, and pray for more and more vocations. We will need many more such vocations to provide for the growing needs of the faithful of our Diocese. Every day - in accord with our Lord's words in the Gospel - I beg the Lord of the harvest to send more workers for priestly ministry, and for consecrated life. I promise God that, if He sends them, I will do everything possible to take care of them very well: to see they have good seminary formation and their legitimate needs are provided for. Help me fulfill my promise.

I want to say on behalf of my brother priests: we are grateful to you for being so generous, so faithful, such an inspiration of faith to us! It is for you and your salvation that God has called us and given us such a great privilege - a share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Let us continue to pray for each other.

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