Until next June, Catholics around the world are being invited to pray in a special way during The Year Of The Priest. In our home we've been praying, but I'll admit I'm still searching for something more to do to honor our faithful priests. As I've said here before, a number of them are friends of ours and they deeply impact our lives. We are so grateful for them and their vocation.
This week our family is blessed to have the 'Traveling Chalice' in our midst in our home. It is visiting us from my hometown parish where the priest has asked that one of his personal chalices travel each week to a different home within his parishes. My parents asked us months ago if we would like to participate and we eagerly agreed. The priest there is a beloved man of God, Fr. Mark. If you have ever met this gifted man, you would know that he is a spirit-filled man with a true servants heart. He asked that this chalice would travel so that each family would be blessed with its presence and that each one would also pray that week in particular for priests throughout this Year of the Priest. Isn't that a wonderful idea?
So, yes, this week pray we will. I ask that you also intercede and pray along with us as well, wherever you are. Near or far. Please pray for priests in a special way and also pray for Fr. Mark in particular. He is currently on a six month sabbatical as he tries to return to better health. He is currently fighting his second bout of cancer. Yes, so close to Christ's heart is he that he has been chosen again to fight this disease.
This post is also timely because Fr. Mark appeared just last week on one of the major news channels here in MN as he shared briefly his story, his faith and HOPE.(Can you see why this priest is near and dear to my heart?) Fr. Mark's first bout with cancer was in his final year of seminary, before becoming a priest. He was given special permission by the Pope and the bishop ordained him early since they didn't think he would make it in his fight with cancer. Shortly after ordination, the tumors began to shrink and he survived. That was 19 years ago. He has spoken his story to many through the years and he has never forgotten to given God all the glory for his miracle he received.
Prayers are powerful and Fr. Mark knows and believes that. Just yesterday he shared that he can feel his tumors shrinking and this round of chemo is going so much better for him. That is why I am asking you to join me this week in prayer. Fr. Mark will receive four more treatments in the next couple of months and I know he would appreciate you prayers for his continued healing. You can read his journal entries on his Caring Bridge site and keep updated on his progress. Don't be shy, please sign his comments and let him know you are praying for him this week. I told him last week that I would be sharing his story with all of you and you'd send him an abundance of prayers!
Prayer for Priests
Gracious and loving God, we thank you for the gift of our priests. Through them, we experience your presence in the sacraments.
Help our priests to be strong in their vocation. Set their souls on fire with the love for your people. Grant them the wisdom, understanding and strength they need to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Inspire them with the vision of your Kingdom.
Give them the words they need to spread the Gospel. Allow them to experience joy in their ministry and help them to become instruments of your divine grace.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns as our Eternal Priest. Amen.