Our priests are under attack from within and from without. They are desperately in need of our prayers. You may have heard about Fr. John Corapi’s recent plea for prayers on his website http://www.fr.johncorapi.com . I was deeply pained when I read his appeal posted to Facebook last night. I also received a call from an old friend describing the upheaval at a certain school and parish in New Orleans to which we were both associated. The heated debate between pastor, administrators and parents has been significant enough to get the attention of the media. It is incredibly sad and disheartening.
Last Sunday, the priest where we attended mass said something from the pulpit that brought tears to my eyes. I do pray for priests often, however, after hearing his sad story, I realized the need to step up my efforts in the prayer department.
The priest was relating a personal story of something that had occurred in his life the week prior. The priest’s sister had telephoned and asked him to pick up her son from school, and then run an errand for her. He picked up his nephew, and stopped off at the grocery store. While still in the parking lot, his nephew, a high school aged boy, reminded him to take off his Roman collar before entering the store. The priest confessed to the parishioners that he makes a habit of taking off his collar, identifying him as a priest, when he is out in public with one of his nephews. He said that people consistently give him dirty looks for being out with a young boy. Though his intentions are pure, he is immediately judged unfairly, because of the priests we’ve all heard about in the news who have molested young people. What a terrible, terrible cross to bear!
While there are priests who have undoubtedly given into the devil in abusing children, they are still in the minority. There are many priests who have taken their vows seriously, and who live a life of faithful service and prayer. The pressure and stress on them is tremendous. Please pray for priests with fervor. Ask God to shower them with the graces to put up with the overwhelming stress they must endure in the world we live in today. Ask God to give them strength and courage to live out their vocation faithfully.