|Newsletter July 2009|
In this YEAR OF THE PRIEST 2009-2010, let me put it unequivocally on record that in Ireland - amongst the four pillars of influence in society; church, media, government and education
The Priesthood, and our beloved priests, hold the key to civilized society in our nation and the entire world.
At this moment in Irish history when our priests and the Church are undergoing a test of fire – we the laity must make a clear decision to truly love and uphold the dignity of our priests.
We must throw off the temptation of stupor and apathy in the face of what is nothing less than a devilish attack on the very essence of Catholic existence – the priesthood.
We the Catholic laity, with our priests, must say ‘NO’ to the attempted neutralisation of the Catholic Church by those who are using child abuse as a club to beat the Church over the head and are trying to eliminate the Church from every level of society if they could.
Overleaf I present a prayer campaign to counteract this assault on priests.
Pope Benedict has declared June 19th 2009 to June 2010 the Year of the Priest coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the birth of St John Mary Vianney - Patron Saint of Parish Priests. It is a year when priests are called to deepen their commitment to interior renewal..
In his letter to priests, the Holy Father quotes St John Vianney who said:
“The priest holds the key to the treasures of heaven… leave a parish for twenty years without a priest, and they will end by worshiping the beasts there”
In an inspirational call to holiness for priests in his letter, the Holy Father extolled the virtues and dignity of the priesthood and
“the immense gift which priests represent, not only for the church, but for the whole of humanity itself.”
He pays tribute to their tireless hidden service, their apostolic labour and their remaining faithful to Christ in the face of difficulties.
The Holy Father cites the words of St. John Vianney on priests:
“O, how great is the priest!...If he realized what he is, he would die…God obeys him: he utters a few words and the Lord descends from heaven at his voice, to be contained in a small host…”
“Who put him (the Lord) in the tabernacle? The priest. Who welcomed your soul at the beginning of your life? The priest. Who feeds your soul and gives it strength for its journey? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, bathing it one last time in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest, always the priest…After God, the priest is everything! Only in heaven will he fully realize what he is… without the priest the passion and death of our Lord would be of no avail…”
Imagine that! Without the priest the passion and death of our Lord would be of no avail!
Small wonder the priesthood is under such an all out spiritual attack by the powers of darkness!
The Good Side
When was the last time you read in the papers of a priest who was doing good work for his people? Sitting all night with the dying? Acting as mediator between warring parties? Instructing the ignorant on the essence of salvation? Opening the treasures of heaven day in and day out? Sharing the gospel and administering mercy to our youth in countless schools and retreats? No-one seems to mention all the good things priests are heroically and quietly undertaking on a daily basis.
I personally believe that the current furore by the media and others on Church propagated child abuse is nothing less than a massive distraction to the Church’s primary task of the proclamation of the Gospel.
Yes, any such abuse must be properly and satisfactorily addressed. Pope Benedict addresses this matter also. However, the champions of a godless liberal agenda are using the opportunity as an excuse to beat the Church with a club.
Politicians noted for their secular anti-religious sentiment are jumping on the bandwagon and calling for the withdrawal of the Church from catholic education.
The Church is being bullied and brow beaten into accepting draconian clumsy policies on child protection. With each successive report - recently the Ryan report - and soon the Dublin report – every priest in the country – no matter how faithful, hard-working or holy - is being tarnished guilty by association by this powerful, shrewd manipulation of public sentiment on a timed release basis. What an outrage!
Recently a priest friend of mine mentioned how he felt afraid almost to meet a child in a crowd.
How our beloved priests need our love and support. How they now need our urgent, insistent prayer.
Everywhere the priesthood is under assault. No priesthood means no Eucharistic Christ! No priesthood means the passion and death of Our Lord “would be of no avail!”
What can we do?
August 4th 2009 is the feast day of St. John Mary Vianney, patron saint of parish priests.
Will you join us for the nine days leading up to August 4th – ie 27th July to 4th August in a national novena of blessing for priests?
Join us in praying the novena prayer, the text of which is derived from Pope Benedict’s letter to priests.
When you pray for priests, you pray for the very welfare of humanity!
Will you order 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 or more for your friends and parish? Please order more on this online REPLY FORM
Will you pray this novena prayer every day for the rest of this entire Year for Priests? God will surely reward you.
Even if you feel unable to do much in this war against our clergy, you can and you MUST pray. No prayer goes unheard. ALL prayer works! Watch the priesthood of Ireland be transformed, renewed and strengthened as we call God’s blessing down on the men who so generously and courageously said ‘YES’ to Christ’s call.
Order more cards on this online REPLY FORM
A Charity Challenge
What about feeding the Shepherds? My wife and I are blessed to have a number of priest friends who visit our home. We often have a priest as guest for dinner. It's enriching to our family. What’s more, it’s so important our priests don’t feel isolated from the very people – the laity - they have given up their lives to serve.
A practical demonstration of love and support. - why not ask YOUR parish priest or curate over for dinner then next time you go to mass? They spend their lives “feeding the sheep.” Let’s be sure we feed the Shepherds.
Recently I had the privilege of speaking in Buncrana, Co. Donegal at the launch of a new pro-family, pro-faith advocacy group called RENEW. Founded by local woman Mary Doherty, RENEW is another manifestation of the deep, inherent stirring of the Spirit in the hearts of Irish laity to bring Christ to Ireland in a forthright straight forward way.
I spoke in the prestigious company of Bishop Seamus Hegarty of Derry Diocese, Donal O’Sullivan Latchford of the Family and Media Association and Mary Doherty, each of whom spoke at the event.
On the evening, I spoke on marriage, sexuality and the reconversion of Ireland. It remains a fact that between the media, Church, government and education, the Church still remains the principal shaper of our culture and customs, despite what others say.
I elaborated on what, in my view, needs to happen on a nationwide basis so that our nation turns back to God. An acknowledgement of our wrongdoings before God’s sight, a nationwide repentance from the smallest child to the highest ecclesiastical authority in the land, prayer and fasting are three essential components that have historically accomplished this goal in other nations.
Prolife Rally in Dublin
The prolife rally in Dublin on July 4th was an excellent demonstration of pro-life witness to the Culture of Life. Thousands took to the streets after mass in St Saviour’s church on a peaceful march through Dublin City Centre.
The rally was marked by a high proportion of happy, joyful young people.
Congratulations to the organisers Youth Defence, Precious Life and others.
A small group of pro-abortion supporters shouted abuse and slogans during the rally. These angry, sad looking people are in deep need of the grace of conversion.
Contraceptives in the water
Recent radio reports indicate deformities in fish, apparently due to high oestrogen levels in the water due to contraceptive pill usage. What about effects on people drinking this water?
Media commentators, however, are reported to resignedly conclude that “family planning” is such an essential aspect of modern life, that was “nothing could be done about it.”
What a load of nonsense! How brainwashed can people become?
As my new book outlines, there is absolutely no need for married couples to have recourse to contraception. It knocks couples out of sync with God’s plan for their marriage, causes disintegration of marital harmony and robs couples of the supreme gift of marriage, children.
God’s plan and the use of natural family planning where serious circumstances require it is a supremely better way.
Until we turn back to God as a nation, we will continue to see more nonsensical propaganda such as this. Let's continue to pray for conversion of our nation every day.
Greyfriars to Derry
Good news for the North in that the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, currently in Moyross, Limerick, are opening a house in Derry in September.
This is great news for our nation, as the Friars have a charism for ministering God’s grace in the more needy areas of our cities and land.
They bring a grace and a calming influence wherever they go worldwide, and in Limerick they have been openly welcomed in Limerick by the local people.
Let us pray for a successful integration into Derry.
Thanks to God’s grace, I have some invitations to speak at weekend masses in parishes on marriage and contraception in the coming months. Recently I had the privilege of speaking in Kilnacrott Abbey, Co. Cavan.
If you haven’t already done so, please approach your parish priest and ask him to contact the HLI office about my coming to his parish.
HLI (Ireland) has been blessed by being remembered in the wills of some of our deceased supporters. Perhaps you would be open to the idea of including us in your will. This is a great blessing to all involved.
Every blessing to you and family.
THE CURE OF ARS TODAY by Fr George Rutler.
An excellent and recommended book for the Jubilee Year of the priest. Read of a extraordinary parish priest to whom thousands flocked from all over Europe for confession with him.
About this book, Cardinal John O’Connor wrote:
“The descriptions of the Curé’s encounters with Satan and his own hours in the confessional were my own personal crucial discoveries. An extraordinary work by an important, fascinating author.”
Gifted with prophecy, discernment, hidden knowledge and working miracles, St. John Vianney – patron of priests – was canonised in 1925. Struggling greatly with his priesthood studies, he barely scraped through being ordained.
He was appointed to the village of Ars, a place with a reputation for laxity and unsanctity in France. After a time of intense prayer and reparation, people started to come to him in a trickle, then in a flood as news of his sanctity spread across the world.
In the words of Fr Kenneth Baker S.J., editor of Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Fr Rutler:
“with bold strokes...captures the spirit of the age in which he lived, unveils the sanctity of a humble parish priest, and gets to the heart of what it means to be a priest – not just then, but now and for all time.""Fr Rutler brilliantly shows that the Curé of Ars is a priest for all seasons”.