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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.



Comments


More Asia Pacific

Rare conjoined twins born in Indonesia with attached chest, abdomen - and heart Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Conjoined twin girls in Indonesia have been born with a very rare genetic condition. Both girls share a chest, abdomen - and a heart. Photos have been circulated showing the babies in a hospital bed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Soetomo Hospital in ... continue reading


Isolation, depression hounds tuberculosis patients as virulently as the disease Watch

Image of Doctors at St. Stephen's Hospital, which gets funding from the charity United Way Worldwide, say the mental health home care program is effective and should be in the national TB program.

By Nita Bhalla, Thomson Reuters Foundation

When Indian street-food seller Kumar Pal first began treatment for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis two years ago, he quickly spiraled into depression and gave up hope of living. NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Weighing just 77 pounds, shunned by his ... continue reading


TAKEN VERY SERIOUSLY: 600 high school students expelled for cheating in Eastern India Watch

Image of The people tried to reach the windows of the classrooms where the students were taking their exams.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In its attempts to become a world leader and an economic powerhouse, the nation of India is taking those who take academic shortcuts, by cheating in school, extremely harshly. More than six hundred students were expelled in eastern India. Pictures of friends ... continue reading


Lawyer for doctor who helped track down Osama bin Laden ASSASSINATED Watch

Image of Senior police officer Shakir Khan said unidentified assailants shot and killed Samiullah Khan Afridi (pictured) this morning in the northwestern city of Peshawar before fleeing the scene.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An important link in the take down of al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden has been ruthlessly gunned down in retaliation. Attorney Samiullah Khan Afridi, murdered by suspected Taliban gunmen was the legal representative for Dr. Shakil Afridi. The doctor provided ... continue reading


VIDEO BLOCKED: Islamic State video shows Indonesian children training with weapons Watch

Image of Yet another horrible Islamic State video, this one intended to recruit followers in Indonesia depicts Indonesian children, all younger than 15 years of age, training with weapons.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Yet another horrible Islamic State video, this one intended to recruit followers in Indonesia, depicts Indonesian children, all younger than 15 years of age, training with weapons. Produced by Alazzam Media, which claims to be the Malay language media division ... continue reading


Pakistani Prime Minister denounced for failing to protect Christians, religious minorities Watch

Image of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is accused of failing to act on a Supreme Court order, issued last year, to provide security at all places of worship.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pakistan's Prime Minister must take partial blame for the deadly attacks on Christian churchgoers in Lahore this past weekend. Archbishop Joseph Coutts of Kararchi, leader of the country's Catholics, says that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif failed to act ... continue reading


Did researchers find 'yeti' hair samples? Or is it something completely different? Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to new research from the journal ZooKeys, the so-called "yeti" hair samples as determined by a prior research, were only from brown bears. In the study's abstract, the researchers stated that they have no reason to conclude the samples came from any other ... continue reading


PAKISTAN'S WORST CHRISTIAN MASSACRE YET: 15 people killed, dozens injured in Lahore church bombings Watch

Image of Area hospitals filled with casualties and scenes of mourning.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pakistan's worst attack on its Christian religious minority occurred this past weekend when two churches in Lahore were targeted by suicide bombers. Fifteen people were killed in all, and at least 70 other people suffered injuries. According to Pakistan Taliban ... continue reading


SHAME OF A NATION: Elderly nun gang-raped by six men in West Bengal Watch

Image of The attack comes at a time of growing awareness about sexual violence against women. There has been increased media reporting of rapes and assaults.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Authorities in eastern India are continuing their search for six men wanted in connection with the gang rape of a 74-year-old nun in West Bengal. Witnesses say the men ransacked the convent school in Ranaghat this past weekend. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


How a single moist towelette on the beach has renewed speculation over the disappearance of Flight MH370 Watch

Image of The discovery of a moist towelette on an Australian beach has many speculating on the disappearance of MH370.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Various media outlets are breaking the news that a single piece of evidence, possibly linked to the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, was discovered on an Australian beach last July. The find is a tiny clue in a vast mystery. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... 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, Genesis 17:3-9
3 And Abram bowed to the ground. God spoke to him as ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 105:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
4 Seek Yahweh and his strength, tirelessly seek his ... Read More

Gospel, John 8:51-59
51 In all truth I tell you, whoever keeps my word ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 26th, 2015 Image

St. Margaret Clitherow
March 26: St. Margaret Clitherow was born in Middleton, England, in 1555, ... 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