A PRAYER FOR PRIESTS
Keep them I pray thee, dearest Lord,
Keep them for they are thine;
Thy priests whose lives burn out before thy consecrated shrine.
Keep them for they are in the world though from the world apart;
When earthly pleasures tempt, allure -- shelter them in thy Heart.
Keep them and comfort them in hours of loneliness and pain.
When all their life of sacrifice for souls seem but in vain.
Keep them and remember, O Lord, they have no one but thee.
Yet they have only human hearts, with human frailty.
Keep them as spotless as the Host, that daily they caress.
Their every thought and word and deed, deign dearest Lord, to bless.
(from Chalice of Strength: Prayers for Priests, Opus Sanctorum Angelorum, 2008 version, p. 31)
Lord Jesus, we ask your special blessing on those preparing for the priesthood in our seminaries. We pray that they will grow in faith, hope and love.
May their hearts overflow with your compassion, understanding and generosity, and may their desire to serve you inspire others to answer your call. Give them courage and perseverance and be their constant companion as they prepare to serve you and your people with faithfulness.
Lord, give our seminarians the grace to continue to answer the call to follow you on their journey. When they are lonely or discouraged, comfort them with your peace.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, fill the hearts of our seminarians with the fire of your love. Make them holy as you are holy.
(from Diocese of Norwich Connecticut)
THE BEAUTIFUL HANDS OF A PRIEST
We need them in life's early morning,
We need them again at its close,
We feel their warm clasp of true friendship,
We seek them when tasting life's woes.
At the altar each day we behold them,
And the hands of a king on his throne
Are not equal to them in their greatness,
Their dignity stands all alone.
And when we are tempted and wander,
To pathways of shame and of sin,
It's the hand of a priest that will absolve us,
Not once, but again and again.
And when we are taking life's partner,
Other hands may prepare us a feast,
But the hand that will bless and unite us--
Is the beautiful hand of a priest.
God bless them and keep them all holy,
For the Host which their fingers caress;
When can a poor sinner do better,
Then to ask Him to guide thee and bless?
When the hour of death comes upon us,
May our courage and strength be increased,
By seeing raised over us in blessing--
The beautiful hands of a priest.
we pray that the Blessed Mother
wrap her mantle around your priests
and through her intercession
strengthen them for their ministry.
We pray that Mary will guide your priests
to follow her own words,
"Do whatever He tells you" (Jn 2:5).
May your priests have the heart of St. Joseph,
Mary's most chaste spouse.
May the Blessed Mother's own pierced heart
inspire them to embrace
all who suffer at the foot of the cross.
May your priests be holy,
filled with the fire of your love
seeking nothing but your greater glory
and the salvation of souls.
Saint John Vianney, pray for us.
(recommended by the USCCB for the Year of Priests (2009-2010))
To live in the midst of the world
without wishing its pleasures;
To be a member of each family,
yet belonging to none;
To share all suffering;
to penetrate all secrets;
To heal all wounds;
to go from men to God
and offer Him their prayers;
To return from God to men
to bring pardon and hope;
To have a heart of fire for Charity,
and a heart of bronze for Chastity
To teach and to pardon,
console and bless always.
My God, what a life;
and it is yours,
O priest of Jesus Christ.
--Jean-Baptiste Henri Lacordaire, O.P. (1802-1861)
"O Jesus, Savior of the world, sanctify your priests and seminarians"
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