July 15, 2023

Thanking God for Our Priests

photo courtesy of facebook.com/bhmcatholic

This summer, we would like to encourage you to keep all your diocesan and religious priests, and the sacred priesthood at large, in your prayer. These months are often the time for ordinations. New priests and deacons receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders, and many priests celebrate the anniversary of their ordinations. Furthermore, the summer is often a time for transitions between assignments – and while changes may be hard on the parish, remember to pray for your priests during these times as well! And lastly, we ask you to pray for seminarians. Whether preparing for school, or in their assignments at parishes during their summer, or any other tasks they are given, these men need our support as they serve the Church and discern the priesthood.

This June, the Diocese of Birmingham had the great joy of celebrating the ordination of Fr. Daniel Sessions to the priesthood. He is pictured below with Sister Marianna, our sacristan at Casa Maria, and Father Dominic Lee, OSB (ordained last summer). Both men served Mass regularly at Casa Maria throughout their teenage years. Seeing them serve God as priests is a great joy to our community!

We also look forward in great anticipation to the coming years. This Fall will see a record number of nineteen seminarians studying for priesthood with the Diocese of Birmingham, which is still considered mission territory. The number of Catholics in Alabama has been growing exponentially. As is the case in many other parts of the country, our priests have been stretched very thin to try to serve the spiritual needs of the faithful. God bless these men for their heroic sacrifices!

image, courtesy of onevoicebhm.org/prayers-answered

The Diocese of Birmingham is entrusted to the patronage of St. Paul, who left a great legacy of teaching about the priesthood in his two letters to Timothy. 2 Timothy is, in fact, written from Paul’s perspective of facing martyrdom, and entrusting his spiritual children to Timothy:

“Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but take your share of suffering for the gospel in the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not in virtue of our works but in virtue of his own purpose and the grace which he gave us in Christ Jesus … Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.” (2 Tim 1:8-14)

Consider how you might support the priests in your life. Perhaps you could simply offer them a word of encouragement or gratitude. Most of all, pray for them and for seminarians. And ask the Lord to send out many more workers for his harvest!