Posted by: Fr Chris | April 21, 2011

Holy Thursday

I remember when I was about six or seven years old that there was a television broadcast about services in Saint Peter’s basilica for this day. In it, the reporter said that all Catholic priests were marking their anniversary. I thought, how can all these priests have been ordained on the same day around the whole world?

Later of course, I came to realize that today is the institution of the Holy Eucharist, the institution of priesthood, the great humility of the God-Man washing His apostles’ feet and so asking all church leaders to be that humble always, and sadly the beginning of the suffering of Jesus.

Eucharist – as a boy, I served the 6 AM Communion service in Saint John the Baptist chapel, a fieldstone chapel with a small cemetery on one side, and the parish convent on the other. It is built on the site of the wooden church used by Saint John Neumann. The people who came to this service, almost always in the pitch dark, were coming off shift work or heading in for work, and had abstained from food or beverage while working or delayed their breakfast. It was a great privilege to move along the carved Communion rail, holding the gold paten under the chins of worshipers as the priest distributed Holy Communion. I knew then that Jesus gave us this Gift so that we could be fed by Him, and that He lived in an innumerable amount of tabernacles so that He could be available for the sick and dying, or to listen to the souls of those who stopped in to churches in the course of their day.

Priesthood – shortly before I was to be ordained, I phoned my spiritual director from my retreat and told him that the Church and the Bishop were making a terrible mistake, and I did not deserve to become a priest. Wisely, he answered ” No one deserves it”, and then this: “If  you thought you were worthy, I would have canceled it myself.” To be a priest — there are tons more thoughts racing in my brain than can fit into a blog! I have sinned, I have made mistakes, I have blundered; but I have been blessed, strengthened, loved, and encouraged. To those who know me or any priest: pray for us that we listen to the Holy Spirit and always serve well.

Oh – and you can read the interesting history of my home (Roman Catholic) parish here:

And happy anniversary to all my brother priests! Let us rejoice with our spiritual father, Pope Benedict XVI, and his sermon delivered at St Peter’s earlier today, including this phrase:

Christian unity can exist only if Christians are deeply united to him, to Jesus. Faith and love for Jesus, faith in his being one with the Father and openness to becoming one with him, are essential. This unity, then, is not something purely interior or mystical. It must become visible, so visible as to prove before the world that Jesus was sent by the Father   – and later in his sermon, the Pope points out how the Eucharist provides that visible unity:

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