Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. Santhosh Sebastian Cheruvally

8/4/2009 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Eucharist makes the priest, who then shares himself for the life of his community in charity, holiness and forgiveness.

The year of the priest, is defined now fundamentally in reference to the 150th dies natalis of John Maria Vianney. He who held the key to renovating and reinvigoring a Church and its priesthood which was affected by the consequences of French revolution, now once again offers the Church and her priests an opportunity to recover the essence of the ministerial priesthood.

The year of the priest, is defined now fundamentally in reference to the 150th dies natalis of John Maria Vianney. He who held the key to renovating and reinvigoring a Church and its priesthood which was affected by the consequences of French revolution, now once again offers the Church and her priests an opportunity to recover the essence of the ministerial priesthood.

Highlights

By Fr. Santhosh Sebastian Cheruvally

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/4/2009 (5 years ago)

Published in Asia Pacific


GORAKHPUR, India (Catholic Online) - Saint John Maria Vianney is in news in the Catholic Church the world over. It makes us wonder why this saint of the French revolution era, often so obscure to the outside world, is brought into the center stage, tand by none other than by Pope Benedict XVI? There is a telling contrast in this as one reflects over it.

It is that a great intellectual –our Pope- is reflecting and writing on the life and message of Vianney who is conventionally known for his lack of academic IQ and capacity in mastering the ecclesial sciences. The act of the Holy Spirit working through the Pope is the rediscovery of the reality of the rich presence of Jesus Christ in the person and ministry of Vianney, especially in his identity as the priest of Christ.

What does all this mean? To the Church of today and to the priests of today, the Pope is exhorting us to look at Vianney as a reference point for the ministerial priesthood. In Vianney the definition of the Ministerial priesthood is nothing but living and acting in persona Christi and sharing the Eucharistic Lord in charity, forgiveness and truth primarily in the community of faith and then to the world outside.

Ministerial priesthood has no raison d’ętre apart from the existential relationship of the priest with Christ who anoints him to be his face for his people. Vianney’s life is a vibrant example of this relationship the beauty of which is that what some persons experience in the greatest mystical stage, he had it in the daily praxis of life. This made him to live not for him but for Christ and his people. His conviction there was that “a priest is not for himself.”

From this relationship then comes the experience of Love. The eternal Love that God is, on the one hand, and on the other that eternal Love concretized in Christ for me and for the entire creation. Only in the love experience of the Triune God manifested in Christ and its appropriation in one’s personal life that a priest will learn to transcend his weariness, weakness and self-seeking.

He transforms himself into a life sharer only in the concrete experience of the love of Christ. “The priesthood is the love of the heart of Christ,” he experienced, lived and then preached. Prayer becomes the primary expression of that love in Vianney as Jesus himself gave us the example of prayer as ‘being in union with His Father and to be led by the Spirit.”

As a priest, it means also all the recognition that the Church as the first love of Christ. The community that obtains the dignity of being and becoming the Body of Christ on account of the plan of God and the redemptive sacrifice of Christ. This community’s life and continuity depends on its union with Christ. Its nourishment is then Christ which is the Eucharist itself.

In this sense, Vianney built the Church of Christ in its local presence and reality with the Eucharist and other sacraments, especially the sacrament of reconciliation-popularly called the sacrament of confession- “ I give sinners a small penance and the rest I do in their place”, Vianney says.

The ministerial priesthood cannot be meaningfully exercised without appropriating the Eucharist into the centrality of the priest who is himself to become Eucharistically centred. Eucharist is an encounter with the living God who is present and who wants me to live in the present. As priests, Eucharist then defines our claim to being priests of Christ. It makes us believe in the transformative and saving love of Christ who becomes visible in the Church in the person of Priest in his enacting of the Sacrament of Eucharist. Eucharist makes the priest Christ’s own.

Eucharist makes the priest, who then shares himself for the life of his community in charity, holiness and forgiveness. The community in turn grows into the Body of Christ nourished by the Eucharistic experience. In St. Vianney, we discover that Eucharist is thus not a mere ritual but the living encounter of the Lord with his people in the sacrificial love.

Two lessons that we, the post Vatican II generation, can draw from the life and message of Vianney: to say there is no ministerial priesthood without Christ and his Church and no priestly life without a life conjoined to Christ. Once there is this deep centrality of Christ in the life of the priest, everything then follows: truth, charity, forgiveness and holiness.

The result: together with the life of the priest the life of the Church is edified and modified. This is the reason the Holy Spirit has helped the intellectual Pope to teach us through the humble example of Vianney the greatest lesson in praxis: “He (Vianney) taught his parishioners primarily by the witness of his life.”

The year of the priest, is defined now fundamentally in reference to the 150th dies natalis of John Maria Vianney. He who held the key to renovating and reinvigoring a Church and its priesthood which was affected by the consequences of French revolution, now once again offers the Church and her priests an opportunity to recover the essence of the ministerial priesthood.

-------

Fr. Santhosh Sebastian Cheruvally belongs to the diocese of Gorakhpur in India and holds a doctorate in Christology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Asia Pacific

Four mythological symbols of China found along 1,700-year-old Silk Road Watch

Image of Ten well-preserved tombs have since been excavated.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The four mythological symbols of China - the White Tiger of the West, the Vermilion Bird of the South, and the Black Turtle of the North and the Azure Dragon of the East -- have been discovered by archaeologists in a 1,700-year-old cemetery along the old Silk ... continue reading


Agreement between Vatican and China remains far from certainty Watch

Image of There has been written contact between Pope Francis and President Xi Jinping over the past 18 months. There is reportedly a deal close on bishop appointments, which is the main stumbling block in establishing diplomatic ties.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While there appear warming overtures both between the Vatican and China, seemingly insurmountable differences remain. The general consensus is that communist-led China will have to make some compromises in its iron-clad rule in order for the Catholic Church to ... continue reading


Abortion as a contraceptive? The ugly truth of abortion in Vietnam Watch

Image of In Vietnam, estimates vary, but between 500,000 and 1 million abortions are carried out every year.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A report from Vietnam's Hanoi Central Obstetrics Hospital has revealed that 40% of all pregnancies in Vietnam end in abortion, a figure that is twice as high as official government figures. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Behind China and Russia, Vietnam has ... continue reading


20 minors rescued in India child-trafficking bust Watch

Image of India has a large issue with child-trafficking, one that is often overlooked or even used by local officials.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A massive police crackdown on organized child trafficking has led to the arrest of 10 child traffickers and the rescue of 20 minors in India. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The raids were conducted jointly by police teams from the Indian states of Chhattisgarh ... continue reading


A prelude to war! Chinese island building project aimed to create military bases in South China Sea Watch

Image of China's ongoing project of building islands for military use in the South China Sea is seen by many as confrontational and preparation for war.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New satellite images are showing that China has begun constructing an island on a reef near the disputed Spratly Islands, which could be large enough to accommodate  an airstrip, its first in the South China Sea. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - That China ... continue reading


Faithful gather to celebrate 500 years of the Catholic Church in Myanmar Watch

Image of Christianity remains a small minority in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the Catholic Church there begins to celebrate its 500 years there, Christianity remains a small minority in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar. According to a census conducted this year, Catholics number about 750,000 out of a population estimated at just over ... continue reading


China's icy heart? Has the Catholic Church warmed up the Asian superpower? Watch

Image of China has 12 million Catholics, but they are often split between support for the local state-run Church and the Vatican.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Relations between the Vatican and China have been frosty since the communist takeover in the 1950s, and the Holy See has found it very difficult to warm relations with the Asian superpower. But with an unprecedented proposal from China, all that could very well ... continue reading


Lessons not learned: 132 Indian women sterilized in five hours following tragedy Watch

Image of Senior officials in Ghuvara acknowledged that the family planning camp was organized by government authorities, but refused to speak on record.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The nation of India recently saw the deaths of 13 women, with as many as 50 women seriously injured after a hasty mass sterilization camp in Ghuvara in Chhatarpur district. Lessons were not learned, it appears, as another 132 women were reportedly operated upon ... continue reading


Two billion people drink water contaminated by feces Watch

Image of According to WHO, inadequate water supply and sanitation results in annual economic losses of $260 billion.

By Magdalena Mis, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Nearly two billion people use water contaminated by feces, posing a global health risk despite billions of dollars spent on sanitation, said a report published on Wednesday. LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - One in seven people, mostly poor and living in ... continue reading


Five million people expected in Goa, India to venerate St. Francis Xavier Watch

Image of The saint, who died in 1552, has his remains preserved in a glass-paneled silver casket and kept inside the 16th-century Basilica of Bom Jesu (Good Jesus).

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Five million people are expected to flood Goa, India in order to venerate the remains of 16th century Spanish missionary Francis Xavier. The remains will be on display for 40 days beginning this weekend.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In order to ... continue reading


All Asia Pacific News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 20:1-4, 11--21:2
1 Then I saw an angel come down from heaven with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5-6, 8
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:29-33
29 And he told them a parable, 'Look at the fig tree ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 28th, 2014 Image

St. Catherine Laboure
November 28: St. Catherine Laboure, virgin, was born on May 2, 1806. At an ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter