22 April – Vocations Sunday:  Catechism on the Priesthood

22 April – Vocations Sunday: Catechism on the Priesthood

Vocations Sunday 

Catechism on the Priesthood

by St John Vianney  (1786-1859) Patron of Priests

        My children, we have come to the Sacrament of Orders.   It is a Sacrament which seems to relate to no one among you and which yet relates to everyone. This Sacrament raises man up to God.   What is a priest!   A man who holds the place of God – a man who is invested with all the powers of God. “Go,” said Our Lord to the priest; “as My Father sent Me, I send you.   All power has been given Me in Heaven and on earth.   Go then, teach all nations….  He who listens to you, listens to Me; he who despises you despises Me.”   When the priest remits sins, he does not say, “God pardons you”; he says, “I absolve you.”   At the Consecration, he does not say, “This is the Body of Our Lord;” he says, “This is My Body.”

St Bernard tells us that everything has come to us through Mary and we may also say that everything has come to us through the priest; yes, all happiness, all graces, all heavenly gifts.   If we had not the Sacrament of Orders, we should not have Our Lord.   Who placed Him there, in that tabernacle?   It was the priest.   Who was it that received your soul, on its entrance into life?   The priest.   Who nourishes it, to give it strength to make its pilgrimage?   The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, by washing that soul, for the last time, in the blood of Jesus Christ?   The priest – always the priest. And if that soul comes to the point of death, who will raise it up, who will restore it to calmness and peace?   Again the priest. You cannot recall one single blessing from God without finding, side by side with this recollection, the image of the priest.

Go to confession to the Blessed Virgin, or to an angel; will they absolve you?   No.  Will they give you the Body and Blood of Our Lord?   No.   The Holy Virgin cannot make her Divine Son descend into the Host.   You might have two hundred angels there but they could not absolve you.   A priest, however simple he may be, can do it; he can say to you, “Go in peace; I pardon you.”   Oh, how great is a priest!   The priest will not understand the greatness of his office till he is in Heaven.   If he understood it on earth, he would die, not of fear but of love.

The other benefits of God would be of no avail to us without the priest.   What would be the use of a house full of gold, if you had nobody to open you the door!   The priest has the key of the heavenly treasures; it is he who opens the door;  he is the steward of the good God, the distributor of His wealth.   Without the priest, the Death and Passion of Our Lord would be of no avail.   Look at the heathens, what has it availed them that Our Lord has died?   Alas!   they can have no share in the blessings of Redemption, while they have no priests to apply His Blood to their souls!

The priest is not a priest for himself.   He does not give himself absolution, he does not administer the Sacraments to himself. He is not for himself, he is for you.   After God, the priest is everything.   Leave a parish twenty years without priests, they will worship beasts.   If the missionary Father and I were to go away, you would say, “What can we do in this church? there is no Mass, Our Lord is no longer there,we may as well pray at home.”   When people wish to destroy religion, they begin by attacking the priest, because where there is no longer any priest there is no sacrifice and where there is no longer any sacrifice there is no religion.

When the bell calls you to church, if you were asked, “Where are you going?” you might answer, “I am going to feed my soul.”           If someone were to ask you, pointing to the tabernacle, “What is that golden door?”  “That is our storehouse, where the true Food of our souls is kept.” “Who has the key?   Who lays in the provisions?   Who makes ready the feast, and who serves the table?”   “The priest.” “And what is the Food?”   “The precious Body and Blood of Our Lord.”   O God!   O God! how You have loved us!   See the power of the priest;   out of a piece of bread the word of a priest makes a God.   It is more than creating the world…. Someone said, “Does St Philomena, then, obey the Cure of Ars?”   Indeed, she may well obey him, since God obeys him.   If I were to meet a priest and an angel, I should salute the priest before I saluted the angel.   The latter is the friend of God but the priest holds His place.   St Teresa kissed the ground where a priest had passed.   When you see a priest, you should say, “There is he who made me a child of God and opened Heaven to me by holy Baptism;  he who purified me after I had sinned;  who gives nourishment to my soul.”   At the sight of a church tower, you may say, “What is there in that place?” “The Body of Our Lord.” “Why is He there?”   “Because a priest has been there, and has said holy Mass.”

What joy did the Apostles feel after the Resurrection of Our Lord, at seeing the Master whom they had loved so much! The priest must feel the same joy, at seeing Our Lord whom he holds in his hands.   Great value is attached to objects which have been laid in the drinking cup of the Blessed Virgin and of the Child Jesus, at Loreto.   But the fingers of the priest, that have touched the adorable Flesh of Jesus Christ, that have been plunged into the chalice which contained His Blood, into the pyx where His Body has lain, are they not still more precious?   The priesthood is the love of the Heart of Jesus.   When you see the priest, think of Our Lord Jesus Christ and thank Him!

“Christ’s invitation to the priesthood
is an invitation to a way of life
that is athletic in its intensity
and heroic in its form.”

Bishop Robert Barronchrist's invitation to the priesthood - bishop robert barron - 22 april 2018 - vocations sunday

By St John Vianney

God, please give to Your Church today
many more priests after Your own heart.
May they be worthy representatives
of Christ the Good Shepherd.
May they wholeheartedly devote themselves
to prayer and penance;
be examples of humility and poverty;
shining models of holiness;
tireless and powerful preachers of the Word of God;
zealous dispensers of Your grace in the sacraments.
May their loving devotion to Your Son Jesus
in the Eucharist
and to Mary his Mother
be the twin fountains of fruitfulness for their ministry.
Amenprayer for priests by st john vianney - vocations sunday - 22 april 2018

St John Vianney, Pray for our Priests!




Sunday Reflection – 22 April – The Fourth Sunday of Easter – Good Shepherd/Vocations Sunday – Year B

Sunday Reflection – 22 April – The Fourth Sunday of Easter – Good Shepherd/Vocations Sunday – Year B

“There flowed from His side water and blood.   Beloved, do not pass over this mystery without thought; it has yet another hidden meaning, which I will explain to you. I said that water and blood symbolised Baptism and the Holy Eucharist.   From these two sacraments the Church is born:- from baptism, the cleansing water that gives rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit and from the holy Eucharist.

Since the symbols of baptism and the Eucharist flowed from His side, it was from His side that Christ fashioned the Church, as He had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam. Moses gives a hint of this when he tells the story of the first man and makes him exclaim:- Bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh!   As God then took a rib from Adam’s side to fashion a woman, so Christ has given us blood and water from His side to fashion the Church.   God took the rib when Adam was in a deep sleep and in the same way Christ gave us the blood and the water after His own death.

Do you understand, then, how Christ has united His bride to Himself and what food He gives us all to eat?   By one and the same food we are both brought into being and nourished.   As a woman nourishes her child with her own blood and milk, so does Christ unceasingly nourish with His own blood those to whom He himself has given life.’”

St John Chrysostom (347-407) – Father & Doctordo you understand then, how christ has united His bride to Himself - st john chrysostom - 22 april 2018 - sunday reflection


Thought for the Day – The Fourth Sunday of Easter Year B – “Good Shepherd/Vocations Sunday

Thought for the Day – The Fourth Sunday of Easter Year B – “Good Shepherd/Vocations Sunday” – Todays Readings: Acts 4:8-12, Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28-29, 1 John 3:1-2, John 10:11-18

“The Good Shepherd gives his life for the sheep”

Despite Jesus’ realistic word-picture, the parable of the Good Shepherd only fully comes alive in Jesus Himself, God’s appointed “Shepherd” of men.   He names two characteristics of such a shepherd:  first the shepherd’s commitment to the flock even to the point of death;  and second, the reciprocal recognition between sheep and shepherd, which is anchored in the innermost mystery of God.

The theme of self-giving to the point of death, is found at both the beginning and the end of the Gospel.   This devotion, contrasts sharply with the flight of the “hired hand”, who, when facing danger, has the excuse that the life of a man is more valuable than the life of a dumb animal.   This argument loses its force, however, when the shepherd cares so much for his sheep, that he prefers them to his own life.   That is scarcely conceivable in purely natural terms but it becomes a central truth in the realm of grace.   It only makes sense with the aid of the second theme of the parable – the shepherd knows his sheep and the animals likewise instinctively recognise him.   For Jesus, this is merely the point of comparison for a completely different recognition:  “as the Father knows me and I know the Father.”   This has nothing to do with instinct but with the most profound mutual recognition, as it is found in absolute trinitarian love.   When Jesus applies this utterly sublime trinitarian love recognition to the inward mutuality between Himself and His own, He elevates this knowledge far above that which is hinted at by the parable.

And thus, it becomes clear, that the first motif of the parable (giving one’s life for the sheep) and the second motif (mutual recognition) coincide rather than merely parallel each other.   The Father’s and the Son’s knowledge of each other is identical with their mutual and perfect selfgiving and therefore, the knowledge exchanged between Jesus and His own, is one with the perfect selfgiving of Jesus for and to His own and it implicitly includes the unity of the Christian’s knowledge and loving dedication to his Lord.

At the end, both themes are expressly joined together:  the Father (also) loves the Son for His perfect selfgiving for the sake of men, a selfgiving which is both freely chosen by the Son and commissioned by the Father.   This unmitigated surrender to mankind because it is Divine Love, is at the same time the power that achieves victory over death (“the power to take up life again”).

“No other name under heaven”  in the First Reading, Peter gives the Lord all glory for the miracle he has effected.   The point is not that, Jesus excepted, all who care for sheep are “hired hands” for the Lord Himself installed Peter to pasture His flock – precisely Jesus’ Flock, not Peter’s.   Thus everything effective and appropriate ultimately is accomplished by the “chief Shepherd alone” (1 Pet 5:4), even if through the activity of His assistants.

Hans Urs von Balthasar “Light of the Word”

john 10 11 - good shepherd no 2



Quote/s of the Day – 22 April – The Fourth Sunday of Easter Year B – “Good Shepherd/Vocations Sunday”

Quote/s of the Day – 22 April – The Fourth Sunday of Easter Year B – “Good Shepherd/Vocations Sunday” – Todays Readings: Acts 4:8-12, Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28-29, 1 John 3:1-2, John 10:11-18

“God has, in fact, thought of us from eternity
and has loved us as unique individuals.
He has called every one of us by name,
as the Good Shepherd ‘calls His sheep by name.'”

St Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)god has in fact thought of us from eternity - 22 april 2018 - good shepherd sunday - st pope john paul

“What Jesus wants to say with these images is clear.
He knows His disciples (and, as God, all men),
He knows them “by name,” which, for the Bible,
means their innermost essence.
He loves them with a personal love
that treats each as if, they were the only one
who existed for Him.
Christ only knows how to count to one
and that one, is each of us.”

Fr Raneiro Cantalamessa OFM CAP
Preacher to the Pontifical Householdchrist only knows how to count to one - fr raneriro cantalamessa - 22 april 2018 - vocations good shepherd sunday-no 2


One Minute Reflection – 22 April – The Fourth Sunday of Easter Year B – “Good Shepherd/Vocations Sunday”

One Minute Reflection – 22 April – The Fourth Sunday of Easter Year B – “Good Shepherd/Vocations Sunday” and the Memorial of St Pope Soter (died C 174)

I am the good shepherd.   The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep...John 10:11john 10 11 - the good shepherd

REFLECTION – “What a blessing it is to know Christ, the Good Shepherd, to know Him as the Redeemer who laid down His life for the sheep, to know Him as the Risen Lord, the source of everlasting joy and life.   What a blessing it is to know the Good Shepherd and to believe in Him.   This gift of faith is the greatest blessing we could ever receive in life.”…St Pope John Paul (1920-2005)

what a blessing it is to know christ - good shepherd sunday - st pope john paul - 22 april 2018

PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, bring us to the joy of Your heavenly city, so that we, Your little flock, may follow where Christ, our Good Shepherd, has gone before us, by the power of His Resurrection.   St Pope Soter, please pray for us that we may always follow our Shepherd, as you did and thus reach our heavenly home, to praise Him with you, forever.   We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord, pope soter - pray for us - 22 april 2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, EASTER, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Our Morning Offering -22 April – The Fourth Sunday of Easter Year B

Our Morning Offering -22 April – The Fourth Sunday of Easter Year B

Give me Yourself, O My God
By St Augustine (354-430) Doctor of Grace

Give me Yourself, O my God,
give Yourself to me.
Behold I love You
and if my love is too weak a thing,
grant me to love You more strongly.
I cannot measure my love
to know how much it falls short of being sufficient
but let my soul hasten to Your embrace
and never be turned away,
until it is hidden in the secret shelter
of Your presence.
This only do I know,
that it is not good for me
when You are not with me,
when You are only outside me.
I want You in my very self.
All the plenty in the world
which is not my God is utter want.
Amengive me yourself o my god - prayer of st augustine - act of petition - 22 april 2018 - 4th sun of easter year B


Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – St Pope Soter (died c 174)

Saint of the Day – St Pope Soter (died c 174) – Latin: Soterius; died c 174) was the Bishop of Rome from c 167 to his death c 174.   According to the Annuario Pontificio, the dates may have ranged from 162–168 to 170–177.   He was born in Fondi, Campania, today Lazio region, Italy.   St Pope Soter is known for declaring that marriage was valid only as a sacrament blessed by a priest and also for formally inaugurating Easter as an annual festival in Rome and for combatting Montanism.  His name, from Greek σωτήρ “saviour”, would be his baptismal name, as his lifetime predates the tradition of adopting papal names.

Saint Soter’s feast day is celebrated today, 22 April, as is that of Saint Pope Caius.   The Roman Martyrology, the official list of recognised saints, references Soter:  “At Rome, Saint Soter, Pope, whom Dionysius of Corinth praises for his outstanding charity towards needy exiled Christians who came to him and towards those who had been condemned to the mines.”

It has often been supposed that all the earliest Popes suffered martyrdom but the Roman Martyrology does not give Pope Soter the title of martyr.   The book detailing the 1969 revision of the General Roman Calendar states:  “There are no grounds for including Saint Soter and Saint Caius among the martyrs.”

header - st pope soter

Born to a Greek father in Latium, Italy, St Soter became the twelfth pope, raised to the Papacy upon the death of St Anicetus in 173.   He is remembered for his love and charity of persecuted Christians, as well as his bravery during a time in which it was dangerous to be a Christian, let alone the pope!

The Montanist movement, which originated in Asia Minor, made its way to Rome and Gaul in the second half of the 2nd century, during the reign of Eleuterus.   Its nature did not diverge so much from the orthodoxy of the time for it to initially be labelled heresy. During the violent persecution at Lyon, in 177, local confessors wrote from their prison concerning the new movement to the Asiatic and Phrygian communities as well as to Pope Eleuterus.   The bearer of their letter to the pope was the presbyter St Irenaeus, soon to become Bishop of Lyon.   It appears from statements of Eusebius concerning these letters that the Christians of Lyon, though opposed to the Montanist movement, advocated patience and pleaded for the preservation of ecclesiastical unity.

When the Roman church took its definite stand against Montanism is not precisely known.   Tertullian records that a Roman bishop sent some conciliatory letters to the Montanists but based on the complaints of Praxeas “concerning the prophets themselves and their churches and by insistence on the decisions of the bishop’s predecessors” forced the pontiff to recall these letters.   Another ancient source states that “Holy Soter, Pope of the City, wrote against them a book, as did the master, Apollonius of Ephesus. Against these wrote the priest Tertullian of Carthage.   Who in all ways wrote well, wrote first and wrote incomparably, in this alone did reprehensibly, that he defended Montanus”.   At Rome, the Gnostics and Marcionites continued to preach against the Catholic Church.

pope7soterst pope soter - snip

Letters written to Saint Soter have survived, addressed to him by Saint Dionysius of the Corinthian church and others.  These letters reference the fatherly love with which Saint Soter wrote to and help support and build the congregation of the Church, offering prayers and financial assistance to all in need—those imprisoned in Rome, those Christians sent to work in the dangerous mines for failing to renounce their faith and those who lived in the remotest of Churches (like Corinth at the time), extending the charity of the Church well beyond that of his predecessors.

st pope soterst pope soter statue in the vatican

From the letter of Saint Dionysius:  “From the beginning it has been your custom to do good to all the brethren in many ways and to send alms to many churches in every city, refreshing the poverty of those who sent requests, or giving aid to the brethren in the mines, by the alms which you have had the habit of giving from old, Romans keeping up the traditional custom of the Romans;  which your blessed Bishop Soter has not only preserved but has even increased, by providing the abundance which he has sent to the saints and by further consoling with blessed words with brethren who came to him, as a loving father his children… Today, therefore, we have kept the holy Lord’s day, on which we have read your letter, which we shall always have to read and be admonished, even as the former letter which was written to us by the ministry of Clement.”

St Soter died in C 174 and buried in the Callistus Catacombs in Rome, Italy.   At his tomb are written the words, “Pope Saint Soter, Master of Charity, Pray for us!”

While we know little about his life, the charitable works and principles of Pope Saint Soter remain extant, inspiring us to evaluate our lives.   Who could we be more loving and charitable to?   How better could be model our lives after Saint Soter,?   How better could we model our lives after Our Blessed Mother, the perfect model of Christian charity? callistus catacombs - snipcecilia-3.Callistus Catacombs - Rome

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 22 April

St Abel McAedh
St Aceptismas of Hnaita
St Pope Agapitus I,
St Apelles of Smyrna
St Arwald
St Epipodius of Lyon
St Euflamia
Bl Francis of Fabriano
St Helimenas
St Joseph of Persia
St Leo of Sens
St Leonidas of Alexandria
St Lucius of Laodicea
St Opportuna of Montreuil
St Senorina
St Pope Soter

St Theodore of Sykeon
St Virginio

Martyrs of Alexandria: No info yet

Martyrs of Persia: Bishops, priests, deacons and laity who were martyred in Persia and celebrated together. Several of them have their stories related in the Acta of Saints Abdon and Sennen.
• Abdiesus the Deacon
• Abrosimus
• Aceptismas of Hnaita
• Aithilahas of Persia
• Azadanes the Deacon
• Azades the Eunuch
• Bicor
• Chrysotelus of Persia
• Helimenas of Persia
• James of Persia
• Joseph of Persia
• Lucas of Persia
• Mareas
• Milles of Persia
• Mucius of Persia
• Parmenius of Persia
• Tarbula of Persia