At the service of God and man

Priests are linked in an intimate, extraordinary way to God and receive special gifts and graces because they are associated so closely with Christ. God demands, moreover, that his priests use their privileged position not only to aid the Catholic faithful, but also to serve all humanity.

Friend of the souls

A soul, once it enters the Church, is constantly guided and aided by priests and bishops. It is strengthened through the sacrament of Confirmation to undertake spiritual warfare against the world, the flesh, and the devil. It is nourished through the Eucharist and cleansed through Penance.

Should that soul seek a spouse and family, the priest officially witnesses the marriage on behalf of the Church. As death draws near, the priest is there with the comforting and purifying oil of Extreme Unction.

Even while the soul is suffering in purgatory, the priest offers Mass on its behalf so that it may quickly join its loving Creator. “Thus,” says Pius XI, “at every moment from the cradle to the grave and even to the very entry into the joys of heaven, the priest is with his people to guide them on the way, to bring them comfort and salvation, and to dispense to them the heavenly gifts.”

Example of holiness

Central as the sacraments are, every priest must also be a profound example of holiness for his flock. Having gained the respect and admiration that only virtue and piety can inspire, his preaching will then be all the more effective.

Man of prayer

Prayer, the indispensible foundation of every apostolate, is perhaps the most hidden priestly obligation, but also one of the most important. Whether public or private, a priest’s prayers must foster an intimate relation with God so that he can effectively serve his people as a mediator of grace and faith. Fervent devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Mediatrix of all graces, is an indispensible means to this end.