Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. Santhosh Sebastian Cheruvally

8/4/2009 (6 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 (6 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Asia Pacific

Unofficial council orders two sisters to be raped and paraded naked for brother's actions in India Watch

Image of An Indian woman is one of many protesters against rape.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There is an ongoing rape crisis in India and things are only getting worse. An unelected council of elders ordered the rape and public humiliation of Meenakshi Kumari, 23, and her 15-year-old sister because their brother dared to marry outside his status. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Chinese man without arms tends to paralyzed mother - feeding her food with spoon in teeth Watch

Image of Forty-eight-year-old Chen Xinyin from Chongqing, southwest China lost both his arms at seven years of age. Putting in a full day's worth of work, he know tends to his paralyzed, elderly mother - by feeding her with a spoon clenched in his teeth.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Forty-eight-year-old Chen Xinyin from Chongqing, southwest China lost both his arms at seven years of age. Putting in a full day's worth of work, he know tends to his paralyzed, elderly mother - by feeding her with a spoon clenched in his teeth. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


'I knew then my life was over': The heartbreaking reality for teen rape victims shamed in India Watch

Image of

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Indian women suffer as rapists force families to accept money in exchange for silence. In many villages, women are blamed for being raped and men do not marry single mothers, as such women are seen as shameful. Without time to finish their educations, and beaten down ... continue reading


North Korean submarines suspiciously missing following the dissolution of standoff with South Korea Watch

Image of Prime Minister Kin Jong Un.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A few days after Kim Jong Un ended a stand-off with South Korea, 50 North Korean submarines were reported to have vanished from radar. A possible surprise attack from the North is expected. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The North Korean submarines ... continue reading


Family mourns loss of newborn after it is attack by rats in hospital Watch

Image of Rat infestation in Indian hospital leads to gruesome newborn death.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A newborn died of rat bites in a government-ran hospital in the city of Vajayawada, located within the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. Los Angeles, California (Catholic Online) - The newborn boy was born in the government-ran hospital where he was sent to the pediatric ... continue reading


1,500-year-old mummified newborn uncovered in Siberia could provide insight into ancient Siberian life Watch

Image of A newborn mummy discovered in Siberia.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The remains of a newborn that was accidentally mummified 1500 years ago has been discovered in an ancient grave in Siberia. This discovery could lead to the unraveling of several mysteries concerning ancient Siberians. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


15-year-old girl forced to marry 32-year-old man: The life of Bangladeshi child brides can be full of violence and abuse Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Weddings are supposed to be one of the most memorable moments in a woman's lifetime. But for 15-year-old Nasoin Akhter it was nothing but loneliness. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Akhter was coerced into marriage with a 32-year-old man. In her wedding ... continue reading


Final Attack Operation: Kim Jong Un prepared North Korea military for battle Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Although the peninsula is technically still engaged in war, alarm and concern was raised in the region and other parts of the world after a report that North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong Un convened with the country's senior party and defense officials. MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading


Welcome to Beidaihe - the Chinese seaside resort town where leaders meet to plot world domination Watch

Image of The Chinese government's meetings in Beidaihe are never formally announced. The only clear indication that political and governmental activity is afoot is when soldiers of the People's Liberation Army appear on the streets.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Known for its gentle ocean breezes, seafood, beaches, and fun activities, the Chinese seaside resort town of Beidaihe is very popular with tourists. Families and young people gather there in the summer months for fun in the sun. Bedidaihe is also very popular with ... continue reading


Relations between China and the Holy See move forward with recognition of seminary studies, students Watch

Image of Diplomatic relations between the Holy See and China were cut in 1951, two years after the Chinese Communist party seized power.

By Andrea Gagliarducci, CNA/EWTN News

In a tiny victory for Vatican-Chinese rapprochement, China's government now recognizes seminary studies and allows seminarians to continue their education in a state university should they leave. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - The Bachelor of Arts diploma young ... 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, Colossians 1:1-8
1 From Paul, by the will of God an apostle of Christ ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:38-44
38 Leaving the synagogue he went to Simon's house. ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 2nd, 2015 Image

St. Ingrid of Sweden
September 2: Born in Skänninge, Sweden, in the 13th century, St. Ingrid lived ... 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