Your parish priest and YOU.

I just received an email from a priest who informed me that today is the 200th anniversary of the day that St. John Vianney, arrived at his parish in Ars and began his work as a pastor with the care of souls.

The care of souls.

Cura animarum.

You don’t hear much about that concept today. The parish priest has a mission to fulfill that derives ultimately from the mission given by Christ to the Apostles. They exercise this mission through Holy Orders and due appointment. Aligned with the Church’s apostolic mission and faithful to it, they have a special bond with the people under their care, to care for their souls, to help them to heaven through teaching, governing and sanctifying, through adherence to and proper use of Creed, Code and Cult, each of which is ordered precisely for the end of the cura animarum: salvation of souls.

St. John Vianney, who would become the great Patron of parish priests – got lost on his way to Ars and had to ask the right direction from a couple of – ironically – shepherds.

It may be that your pastor has gotten lost. He may need encouragement and correction from lay people to guide him into his proper place and role.

You may need to care for the soul of the priest who has the care of your soul.

Lent is coming.

Perhaps you might consider undertaking a special daily prayer for your parish priests – especially if he is somewhat off the rails – and performing some daily act of reparation on his behalf.  Offer some mortification for his or their sake.  It could be that your parish priests are pretty squared away, but you know of a priest who is … lost.   Choose a priest who isn’t good to you or others, who is perhaps faithless or a heretic or scandalous in some way.   Those guys really need prayers, especially if they have by their appointments been given the care of souls and they are neglecting their charge.   They are at great risk of eternal damnation.

If you need a project for Lent, that could be a good one.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I recently started praying this Chaplet of the Precious Blood for Priests, from Fr Mark Kirby at the Vultus Christi blog.

  2. haydn seeker says:

    I want to thank God for my Parish Priest. He is a wonderful man and I admire him enormously. He loves scripture and he loves his parishoners enough to scold us. Alas there’s no chance of him learning the EF any time soon, but he is an honest man who loves God. That’s a blessing.

  3. Joy65 says:

    Father Z, interesting that you post this.

    I have begun a life long mission of DAILY, specifically, thinking of and praying for ALL priests, Religious Brothers & Sisters, Deacons, Seminarians, Our Pope, Bishops, Cardinals and ALL discerning vocations to and preparing for the Priesthood and Religious Life. This came about through an AMAZING spiritual conversion of this cradle to grave, womb to tomb devout Catholic “girl”. To these daily prayers I also add prayers for special intentions for specific Priests and Religious.
    No Priests—NO Eucharist, NO Sacraments, NO Mass, NO Church.
    I am THANKFUL and we are all blessed tremendously by Priests and Religious.

    THANK YOU Father Z and Thank YOU GOD for ALL of our Priests and Religious answering your call and serving you and us in the Catholic Church.

  4. Gilgamesh says:

    Mothers for Priests is an apostolate for Catholic mothers to pray for priests. Please take a look at the website of the Mothers for Priests:
    First of all, it has the explanation of this apostolate and the “Daily Prayer of the Mothers for Priests.” Secondly, it has resources of various prayer cards in convenient printable pdf format.
    There is a special capacity of the maternal heart to pray in union with Our Blessed Mother for priests who are struggling and suffering. Catholic mothers, please consider joining and praying daily this prayer for priests.

  5. Mojoron says:

    I often think of St. John when I wish to have the perfect priest in our parish, then I realize the time of his priesthood is so much different than it is now. Most likely priests, once they were attached to their parish, were there for life and became an integral part of the social fabric of that community. St. John could virtually plan on being with his flock until he passed away. Not today, of course. The priesthood is short of shepherds and the priests seem to be pressured, hurried and somewhat forgetful of their only job requirement: to get souls to heaven. Spending time at a parish, when the priest has multiple parishes, is often a dinner here, a Mass there and Reconciliation once per week. TLM? You are kidding right? Until we get more priests, the day’s of St John Vianney are history that will probably never be repeated. So we must be accepting of our spiritual slowmess and spend more time trying to help ourselves to heaven and hope, HOPE, that there will be a St John there at our death.

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