Friday, June 09, 2006

"Let Your Priesthood Be Your Joy"

Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St Joseph -- a favorite here eons before anyone else knew who he was -- ordained his first crop of priests for the Missouri diocese last week.

The message:
"In your priestly apostolate, allow God to make you an instrument of justice and peace," Bishop Finn said in his homily, shortly before ordaining Father Stephen E. Hansen, Father Justin E. Hoye and Father Steven C. Rogers at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception packed with their families and friends.

"Promote the dignity and respect for all human life from its inception until natural death," the bishop said. "Support with zeal those persons who have no voice of their own - the unborn, those with special needs, the aged and the dying. Defend the integrity of marriage and the family which, as the church teaches, are at the core of our society. Be in solidarity with those who suffer injustices in our society, those who are targets of prejudice, the poor, the migrant and the refugee. Be for them signs of God's love and mercy."
Yet again, the affirmation that the church's place isn't with those who have, but those who don't. Thank you.

"Above all, be filled with wonder and awe at the mystery of the Holy Eucharist, from which flows the life of the church and which is the primary source of the priest's pastoral love," he said.

"See in the daily offering of Holy Mass your identity as priests and your greatest service of God's holy people," the bishop said.

"By the manner of your celebration of the Holy Eucharist and other sacraments, the faithful will understand more fully the transcendent truths of the faith," Bishop Finn said. "Your priestly service at the altar can bring many to Jesus Christ and the church. In the purity of the sacred mysteries celebrated with integrity and a deep commitment to the church's maternal perogative, you will be fit instruments for the transmission of the supernatural riches of the church."

And, of course, the exhortation to pray ceaselessly.

"Pray before Mass," he said. "Pray in thanksgiving after Mass. Though you never do this for show, do not hesitate to let your parishioners see you as a man of prayer. They will be inspired both to pray more fervently themselves and also to pray for your perseverance.

"Your priesthood is for life - indeed, for all eternity," Bishop Finn said. "You will need this dynamic connection to Jesus Christ the sacrificial victim if you are to persevere in giving yourself entirely as priests."

PHOTO: Kevin Kelly/The Catholic Key