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 September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Asia Pacific

Move by Bangladesh to LOWER legal age to marry raises international outrage Watch

Image of Bangladesh has the highest child marriage rate in Southeast Asia, which puts young women there at higher risk of sexual exploitation and domestic violence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Bangladesh has an ongoing problem with child marriage: two out of three girls there marry before they reach adulthood. A proposal to lower the age to 16 years of age has prompted a storm of international criticism. Women's rights activists are calling it "a ... continue reading


Islamic State planned beheadings in Australia Watch

Image of Mohamed Elomar, an Australian who joined the Islamic State, and one of the primary examples of homegrown extremism.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Australian officials have prevented an Islamic State plot to carry out and film the beheading of a random person in Sydney, as part of a series of public executions intended to strike terror into the West. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pre-dawn raids across ... continue reading


Parish dedicated to John Paul II the first in Chinese-speaking world Watch

Image of Construction of the church began in February 2014, thanks to donations from the local Catholic community. Father Orifiamma said the parish still needs financial help to finish paying for the costs of construction.

By CNA/EWTN News

The Diocese of Kaohsiung in Taiwan has become the first in the Chinese-speaking world to have a parish dedicated to St. John Paul II, where a first-class relic of the Polish saint's blood is kept. Kaohsiung, Taiwan (CNA) - Archbishop Peter Chen-Chung Liu of Kaohsiung ... continue reading


Pauline Sisters celebrate their 50 years in Goa, India Watch

Image of In keeping with the Founder's vision, the Paulines have gone beyond the confines of churches and schools to reach out to people in their homes and marketplaces.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Pauline Sisters are due to celebrate their 50 years of presence in Goa, India, this September 20th. Goa is the former headquarters of the Asian Church. On September 20. The Pious Society of the Daughters of Saint Paul, or DSP opened its first house in India ... continue reading


China takes fight to internet! Begins banning mail-order bride websites Watch

Image of Chinese and Cambodian authorities are targeting bride-buying websites in a new anti-human-trafficking initiative, aimed at preventing the exploitation of women from poorer countries.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Online bride-shopping websites are being targeted by Chinese and Cambodian authorities in a new anti-human-trafficking initiative, aimed at preventing the exploitation of women from poorer countries. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "We support the crackdown and ... continue reading


QUITE A BOAST! North Korea has 'the world's most advantageous human rights system,' leaders say Watch

Image of North Korean dictator Kim Jung-Il poses for a photo as he oversees a tactical rocket firing drill last June.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Widely regarded as the most oppressive government on the face of the Earth, a report from North Korean officials heralds that the nation has "the world's most advantageous human rights system." The international community largely scoffed at this bold, ... continue reading


Vietnamese children will be able to be adopted by American parents after six-year ban Watch

Image of Americans who wish to adopt Vietnamese children can only to do with child older than five years of age, those with special needs or groups of siblings.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

American parents who wish to adopt children from Vietnam will be able to do again shortly after a six-year ban. However, Vietnamese children who can be adopted by U.S. citizens must be older than five years of age. While the ban has been lifted, this new ... continue reading


Hundreds of children rescued from Illegal Muslim schools in China Watch

Image of Chinese authorities have been waging a battle against Muslim separatists in the western region of Xinjiang, which has left hundreds dead. A recent raid saved nearly 200 students from an illegal Islamic school.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Officials in China's Xinjiang region have rescued 190 children and detained 85 people in a series of widespread raids on underground Islamic schools. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The sweep was reported in China's state-run Legal Daily, and reported that the ... continue reading


Nearly half of all girls in South Asia are married before they turn 18 years of age Watch

Image of One in five girls are married before the age of 15, giving India the highest rates of child marriage in the world, the report said.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a United Nations report, nearly half of all girls in South Asia marry before they turn age 18. Published by the U.N. children's agency UNICEF last week, the report lays bare what it calls "glaring inequalities." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


After devastation of Typhoon Haiyan, Church moves in to construct 25 chapels and emergency shelters Watch

Image of A chapel that was destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan as it ravaged much of the Philippines in November 2013.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The social service arm of the archdiocese of Manila is building 25 chapels in areas of the Philippines that were devastated by the super typhoon that passed through in 2013. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Church restoration is very important because it ... 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, Isaiah 55:6-9
6 Seek out Yahweh while he is still to be found, call ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
2 Day after day I shall bless you, I shall praise ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 20:1-16
1 'Now the kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner ... Read More

Reading 2, Philippians 1:20-24, 27
20 all in accordance with my most confident hope and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 21st, 2014 Image

St. Matthew
September 21: St. Matthew, one of the twelve Apostles, is the author of the ... 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