What priests should do in the face of the floods

CNA has this story: Record flood causes Catholic Charities North Dakota to call on priests

Fargo, N.D., Mar 27, 2009 / 05:50 pm (CNA).- Flooding has reached ‘code red’ status in parts of Fargo as river levels eclipse a 1897 record, causing Catholic Charities to call on all priests in the diocese to assist with the recovery effort by filling sandbags, assisting with counseling and tending to other vital needs.

By all means…. priests should get involved!

But priests can also do things others cannot:  The priest intercedes with God for the people as a priest, alter Christus.

First and foremost, let the priests be priests.

Father, say Masses for this intention.

Get out there with the Rituale Romanum.

Do all things which the circumstances call for, but don’t forget that special set of tools God gave by ordination.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. supertradmom says:

    Yes, let priests do the things we cannot do as laity–intercede for us at Holy Mass in the place of Christ.

  2. John Enright says:

    ” But priests can also do things others cannot: The priest intercedes with God for the people as a priest, alter Christus.”

    Thank you, Father, for making this very important point. Yes, priests can fill sandbags, but help with the Almighty is nothing to wave at!

  3. Ann says:

    It is frightening that we have lost the sense of awe toward God to such a degree that priests are asked to fill sand bags rather than turn to the Lord in intensive prayer, leading the elderly who cannot fill bags but can pray.

  4. m says:

    (or maybe we have ENOUGH of a “sense of awe toward God to such a degree that” we know that He knows about the flood. And, meanwhile, bags need to be filled.)

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Right On, Father Z!!Offering Holy Mass for the intention of averting flooding may be worth a million sandbags. (the priest can also hear the confessions of the men (not the ladies, for sure, they are home making hot chocolate and keeping the home fires burning while the men fill the bags)who are swearing and cursing the rain, the bags and the river!

  6. Noel says:

    Perhaps an ark would be good!

  7. Fr. AJ says:

    Sadly I agree with m. Over the past 40 years or so we have lost the idea of the priest being a mediator with God. I tend to think many people look at the priest as just a worship leader akin to a Protestant minister and the changes in liturgy have helped to bring this about.

  8. irishgirl says:

    As always you are spot on, Fr. Z!

    Be like Moses on the mountain!

  9. Immaculatae says:

    I’m with Irishgirl – Be like Moses on the mountain face to face with God! Pray for us!

    This a good example though of the notion of pastoral demands that do not leave Priests the
    time/or and energy to focus on prayer and the sacraments.

    For example, they would have their poor Pastors and Associates doing things laypersons can/should do and then leaving the planning of the Liturgy in the hands of persons who have not a Catholic clue about it.

  10. Fr. AJ: Right. Let’s not view the priest is a priest, not a “minister”. Some years ago there was a very good article in HPR by J. Card. Ratzinger on this very point. He makes a distinction about the way Protestants view “ministry” and the way Catholics see it, and therefore who the priest is (rather than what the priest is).

  11. joamy says:

    I am in Fargo -please be assured that our priests our doing an incredible job. I have not heard of any Masses being cancelled (not sure in those areas that have been evacuated.) There are extra devotions being offered to help with the flooding (there is a novena to St Joseph being offered at our cathedral.)
    I don’t mean this to sound negative – just to say that our priests are doing a really good job in a difficult time.

  12. Anders says:

    JoAmy is right–our clergy is doing a fine job. This weekend Bishop Aquila and his chancellor took a relic of the True Cross and gave the Benedictio Contra Inundationes Aquarum at five spots along the river.

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