2 June 2010


Over the past few days we have been praying using the words of Cardinal Newman. Now I would like us to think about the priesthood in these last few days of the Year for Priests.

Kicking us off is Archbishop Dolan who was talking at Maynooth seminary in Ireland. There is an interview available on the Irish Bishops' website, here, but I'm unable to embed the video onto this blog. You have to click and watch.

Also available is the full text of his speech, again available here. This is an extract:

As a priest we are called to be configured to Christ as priest, head, and shepherd of His Church. Never was Jesus more priest, head, and shepherd of the Church than when He was on the cross. We priests don’t whine with the thief on the left, “Get down off your cross and get me down off mine.” Nope. We’re like Dismas who tells the Lord, “I’m happy to be next to you on Calvary.”


The late, great John Paul II went hoarse teaching us that the priesthood is a dramatic, radical reordering of a man’s very life, his soul, his heart, his identity, and that we’re much better off looking at fathers and husbands for metaphors of priesthood than we are at professions.

Thus, the priesthood is a call, not a career; a redefinition of self, not just a ministry; a
way of life, not a job; a state of being, not a function; a permanent, lifelong commitment, not a temporary style of service; an identity, not a role. (By the way, the loss of this, what we call “ontological” appreciation of priesthood applies as well to marriage, religious life, and, for that matter, to Christian, ecclesial identity conferred in baptism, but you didn’t ask me to speak on that.)

If the very value of my priestly vocation depends on what I do, where I’m assigned, how the people affirm me, how my bishop treats me, what the newspapers report about us, what horrible sins brother priests may have committed, what negligence was shown by their bishops, how much I get out of it, or how high or low morale may be at a given time -- if the very value of our priesthood depends upon those external forces, however dominant they may be; if, in a word, my value depends on what I do, sooner or later we’ll get frustrated, cynical, exhausted, crabby, bored, and tempted. Our value must come from who we are.


  1. Dear Father Johnson,

    Thank you very much for replacing the earlier post. Sincerely, Maureen

  2. Maureen, you're kind. God bless you in your mission.



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