A group of faithful parishioners gathers each day here at Holy Cross to pray the Rosary, in anticipation of the daily Mass. Part of their prayer includes this petition: “Please, God, send us more holy priests.” Shortly after Fr. Mark arrived in the parish, nearly ten years ago, he overheard their prayer and thought he heard, “Please, God, send us a holy priest!” Imagine his surprise! He had only recently arrived at Holy Cross and he concluded that their early, initial assessment was that the Archbishop had not sent us a holy priest, so they were still petitioning the Lord for one!
Pope Francis told a group of young French priests yesterday that weakness is a chance for encounter with God, and not something they should try to overcome by their own strength. “My fragility, the fragility of each one of us, is a theological place of encounter with the Lord,” he told the group of young priests.
“The ‘superman’ priests end up badly, all of them,” the Holy Father said. “The fragile priest, who knows his weaknesses and talks about them with the Lord, he will be fine.” He encouraged the priests to be pastors who always act in service of the people under their care. “Strip yourself of your preconceived ideas, your dreams of greatness, your self-affirmation, to put God and people at the center of your daily concerns. You will be a pastor in many ways, but always in the midst of God’s people. Prepare yourselves for your future tasks as pastors, and allow yourselves to better appreciate the reality in which you are called to proclaim the Gospel of joy.”
The Holy Father’s words have made their way across oceans and continents – arriving here at Holy Cross today so that we and our pastor might hear: “The priest is a man who, in the light of the Gospel, spreads the taste of God around him, radiates holiness, and transmits hope to restless hearts: this is how it must be.” Please, God, send us more holy priests.