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Thursday, 9 July 2009

"Catholic priests as Catholic priests!"

This is quite interesting to me, for several reasons.
Recently I had the opportunity to become familiar with a newly founded priestly community, The Apostles of Jesus Christ, Priest and Victim, which is located in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
The community of diocesan priests was given approbation by Cardinal George and operates on principles of Catholic theology and sacraments focused around prayer and Holy Eucharist.
What is remarkable about the community is the hinging of the daily routine of priestly ministry around the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours and the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
Unusually enough, most priests in parochial parish assignments do not have the chance or a limited opportunity to celebrate these rituals communally with other priests.
For the most part, due to the increasingly acute priest shortage in the United States, more and more priests are commonly living alone in their priestly assignments.
The fraternity and prayerful celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours and the Holy Eucharist very often mandated in our seminal formation at seminaries is abandoned once the ordained priest “hits the parish!”
One is, that in an era of parish consolidation, and in an area where there are far fewer priests per (Catholic) capita, the potential for isolation, especially in diocesan priests, is very great.
We are social animals.
(And it's no bad thing for a pastor especially, but really for any priest, to have to accommodate someone else, at least some of the time, in some of the gazillion trivial needs and desires and preferences that we all build our daily lives around, to remember how to compromise.)

Another is that this "community hinges of the daily routine of priestly ministry around the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours and the celebration of the Holy Eucharist."

Repeat after me: Source and Summit, Source and Summit, Source and Summit....

And another is the thought that this may be another crack in the parochial system, which is not divinely ordained and which may have outlived its usefulness, at least in areas, or should I say in an era? where the next town is not a day's journey away.
Parochialism contributes to... parochialism.

And yet another is -- how is this the first I'm hearing of it?
Anyway, as Hugh McNichol writes, "Learn more about the priestly community at http//:apostlesofjesuschrist.org . Pray for their success as well as the success of our entire Catholic global community."

"Diocesan priests coming together to become priests after Christ's own Heart deepens the Church's call to holiness in head and members. This new Society is a grace, and I joyfully bless its members."

His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I. Archbishop Of Chicago.

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