Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

3/31/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The priest, the bishop, the deacon must shepherd the Lord's flock with love. It is useless if it is not done with love. And in this sense, the ministers who are chosen and consecrated for this service extend Jesus' presence in time, if they do so by the power of the Holy Spirit, in God's name and with love.

We have already had occasion to point out that the three Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist together constitute the mystery of "Christian initiation", a single great event of grace that regenerates us in Christ. This is the fundamental vocation which unites everyone in the Church as disciples of the Lord Jesus. There are then two Sacraments which correspond to two specific vocations: Holy Orders and Matrimony. They constitute two great paths by which the Christian can make his life a gift of love, after the example and in the name of Christ, and thus cooperate in the building up of the Church. Holy Orders, in its three grades of bishop, priest and deacon, is the Sacrament that enables a man to exercise the ministry which the Lord Jesus entrusted to the Apostles, to shepherd his flock, in the power of his Spirit and according to his Heart.

I would like to conclude with something which comes to mind: how does one become a priest, where is access to the priesthood sold? No. It is not sold. This is an initiative which the Lord takes. The Lord calls. He calls each of those whom he wills to become priests. - Pope Francis

I would like to conclude with something which comes to mind: how does one become a priest, where is access to the priesthood sold? No. It is not sold. This is an initiative which the Lord takes. The Lord calls. He calls each of those whom he wills to become priests. - Pope Francis

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/31/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: marriage, Holy Marriage, Sacrament of Marriage, Holy Orders, Bishops, Priests, Deacons, holiness, vocation, communion, Wednesday Catechesis, Pope Francis, Deacon Keith Fournier


VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - On Wednesday, Pope Francis continued his talks in St Peters square on the Sacraments. On March 26, 2014, he spoke of the two sacraments which are at the service of communion and mission, Holy Orders and Holy Matrimony.

His teaching was especially inspiring to me.

I have been married in Christ for almost forty years and his words were a blessing to hear. The instruction underscored the pastoral effort of the Church throughout the world, in an age when marriage is under a wholesale assault, to emphasize the sacrament of marriage as vocation, call to communion, call to holiness and participation in mission.

In addition, as a Deacon, I found his inclusion of the Order of Deacon in his explanation of the Sacrament of Holy Orders particularly important and helpful. I have lived this vocation for almost seventeen years. It truly IS a vocation and it is encouraging to hear and read his wonderful insights. I lived the lay vocation in service to the Church for many years before ordination. It is a beautiful response to the Holy Spirit.

However, ordination changed me profoundly and I realized that the theology of Orders is real. A mark, a character, is imparted which changes the man. Deacons are members of the Clergy, called to participate in the ministry of Jesus Christ in a particular way.

I remember lying prostrate on the floor during the ordination and having two phrases well up within me. The first was Fiat, the Marian Surrender. The second, not quite as pious sounding, "Uh Oh". Both have proved to have been prophetic. My life was never the same, my world was turned upside down and a new yoke of service was entrusted to me. 

Pope Francis emphasized that Marriage and Holy Orders "constitute two great paths by which the Christian can make his life a gift of love, after the example and in the name of Christ, and thus cooperate in the building up of the Church."

I offer below the entire instruction for our readers around the globe.

******

Pope Francis on Marriage and Holy Orders

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We have already had occasion to point out that the three Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist together constitute the mystery of "Christian initiation", a single great event of grace that regenerates us in Christ. This is the fundamental vocation which unites everyone in the Church as disciples of the Lord Jesus.

There are then two Sacraments which correspond to two specific vocations: Holy Orders and Matrimony. They constitute two great paths by which the Christian can make his life a gift of love, after the example and in the name of Christ, and thus cooperate in the building up of the Church.

Holy Orders, in its three grades of bishop, priest and deacon, is the Sacrament that enables a man to exercise the ministry which the Lord Jesus entrusted to the Apostles, to shepherd his flock, in the power of his Spirit and according to his Heart.

Tending Jesus' flock not by the power of human strength or by one's own power, but by the Spirit's and according to his Heart, the Heart of Jesus which is a heart of love.

The priest, the bishop, the deacon must shepherd the Lord's flock with love. It is useless if it is not done with love. And in this sense, the ministers who are chosen and consecrated for this service extend Jesus' presence in time, if they do so by the power of the Holy Spirit, in God's name and with love.

1. A first aspect. Those who are ordained are placed at the head of the community. They are "at the head", yes, but for Jesus this means placing ones authority at the service [of the community], as Jesus himself showed and taught his disciples with these words:

"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of man came not to be served by to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mt 20:25-28/Mk 10:42-45).

A bishop who is not at the service of the community fails to perform his duty; a priest who is not at the service of his community fails to perform his duty, he errs.

2. Another characteristic which also derives from this sacramental union with Christ is a passionate love for the Church. Let us think of that passage from the Letter to the Ephesians in which St Paul states that Christ "loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the Church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing" (5:25-27).

Through Holy Orders the minister dedicates himself entirely to his community and loves it with all his heart: it is his family. The bishop and the priest love the Church in their own community, they love it greatly. How? As Christ loves the Church.

St Paul will say the same of marriage: the husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the Church. It is a great mystery of love: this of priestly ministry and that of matrimony are two Sacraments, pathways which people normally take to go to the Lord.

3. A final aspect. The Apostle Paul recommends to the disciple Timothy that he not neglect, indeed, that he always rekindle the gift that is within him. The gift that he has been given through the laying on of hands (cf. 1 Tim 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6).

When the ministry is not fostered - the ministry of the bishop, the ministry of the priest - through prayer, through listening to the Word of God, through the daily celebration of the Eucharist and also through regularly going to the Sacrament of Penance, he inevitably ends up losing sight of the authentic meaning of his own service and the joy which comes from a profound communion with Jesus.

4. The bishop who does not pray, the bishop who does not listen to the Word of God, who does not celebrate every day, who does not regularly confess - and the same is true for the priest who does not do these things - in the long run lose their union with Jesus and become so mediocre that they do not benefit the Church.

That is why we must help bishops and priests to pray, to listen to the Word of God which is one's daily nourishment, to celebrate the Eucharist each day and to confess regularly. This is so important precisely because it concerns the sanctification of bishops and priests.

5. I would like to conclude with something which comes to mind: how does one become a priest, where is access to the priesthood sold? No. It is not sold. This is an initiative which the Lord takes. The Lord calls. He calls each of those whom he wills to become priests.

Perhaps there are some young men present here who have heard this call in their hearts, the aspiration to become a priest, the desire to serve others in the things of God, the desire to spend one's entire life in service in order to catechize, baptize, forgive, celebrate the Eucharist, heal the sick... the whole of one's life in this way.

If some of you have heard this call in your heart, it is Jesus who has placed it there. Pay attention to this invitation and pray that it might grow and bear fruit for the whole Church.

---


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 Europe

MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Marriage is God's creation - Church cannot change that Watch

Image of A push for

By Kevin J. Jones, CNA/EWTN News

Dissenting Catholic groups have called for gay marriage to be recognized as a sacrament, but Catholic theology has a clear priority: marriage is God's creation - and not even the Church can change that. Washington D.C.  (CNA/EWTN News) - Dr. John Grabowski, ... continue reading


NO MORE SISTERS: Lack of new, younger nuns forces sisters to leave elder care home Watch

Image of Sister Joseph, the Mother Provincial for the order said the decision to leave had been a

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Little Sisters of the Poor have attended to needs of the elderly at the Wellburn Care Home in Dundee for more than 150 years. A lack of younger nuns has now forced the remaining seven sisters, all in their seventies, to continue their work elsewhere. The ... continue reading


Vatican withdraws support of 'questionable' anti-human trafficking initiative Watch

Image of It has been noticed in recent days that the Global Freedom Network's representative from the Holy See, Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, had left the group's executive board.

By CNA/EWTN News

Faithful to its commitment against human trafficking, the Holy See has left the board of an initiative it helped to found, as questions have been raised around both its effectiveness and its chair's possible use of the Pope to raise funds. Vatican City ... continue reading


Romans not enthusiastic over Pope Francis' declaration of a Jubilee Year in Rome Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Jubilee Year was officially declared by Pope Francis in Rome, as it expected for millions of pilgrims to gather around the city to observe the celebration. However, Romans are less enthusiastic and more worried, as Rome is in crisis following the discovery of ... continue reading


French locals not happy about King Salman of Saudi Arabia's three-week Riviera vacation Watch

Image of King Salman visits the Riviera Beach in France together with 1,000 of his entourage.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The King of Saudi Arabia, King Salman was scheduled to arrive in France Friday for a holiday trip at the Riviera Beach. The King was expected to arrive together with 1,000 of his entourage. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - King Salman's visit was ... continue reading


Islamic State may use store-bought drones to launch terror attacks at British sporting events Watch

Image of ISIS could easily get its hands on cheap drones, with more than 127,000 being bought and sold on online auction site eBay in the last year alone.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Drones, unmanned aerial devices that can now be commercially purchased by civilians, may be used by Islamist State for terrorist attacks at British sporting events. The sick terror group would use the devices to drop explosives on to playing fields, and use the ... continue reading


New financial rules reveal Vatican had a billion euros off the books Watch

Image of The statements were prepared by the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, the Vatican's budget management office.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Holy See reports €1 billion in net assets never before reported, and in a consolidated form. This was part of the revelations that came under new reporting procedures more in line with international accounting standards. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Romans lose hope for city, fear mayor is too weak to conquer political scandals Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Arrests of powerful political figures in Rome continuously add up. After discoveries of corruption and mafia linkages, Romans feel more burdened over their falling apart home. Although the current mayor proved to be free from any criminal accusations linked to ... continue reading


Horrific female genital mutilation becomes shocking factor in many areas of England Watch

Image of Despite there being a lot of cases against FGM in England, there have been no prosecutions.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Due to mass immigration, female genital mutilation (FGM) has made its way to the United Kingdom. Female genital mutilation is the practice of cutting off a girl's clitoris and labia before stitching up the vulva. According to recent reports, this damaging practice is ... continue reading


Quran manuscript, at 1,500 years old, may be the oldest one discovered to date Watch

Image of The leaves of parchment date back to A.D. 568 and A.D. 645.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

After initiating radiocarbon dating, measuring the age of the parchments organic materials, researchers are confident they have found the oldest surviving copies of the Quran. University of Birmingham scholars in the United Kingdom say the parchment was produced within ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Numbers 11:4-15
4 The rabble who had joined the people were feeling ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 81:12-13, 14-15, 16-17
12 So I left them to their stubborn selves, to follow ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 14:13-21
13 When Jesus received this news he withdrew by boat ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 3rd, 2015 Image

St. Lydia Purpuraria
August 3: Lydia Purpuraria (1st century) was born at Thyatira (Ak-Hissar), ... 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