I get the sense that this year Holy Thursday is even bigger for us Catholics. It’s the year for priests. During his general audience held in St. Peter’s Square yesterday the Holy Father explained to the gathered faithful and to all of us the meaning and beauty of the Easter Triduum:
“Tomorrow the Church begins her celebration of the Easter Triduum, a time devoted to silent prayer and contemplation of the mystery of the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection. The liturgies of these days invite us to ponder Christ’s saving sacrifice and His promise of new life. In this Year for Priests, the Holy Thursday Chrism Mass, at which priests renew the promises made on the day of their ordination, will take on a particular significance. May priests everywhere be conformed ever more closely to Christ as heralds of his message of hope, reconciliation and peace! The Mass of the Lord’s Supper, celebrated the evening of Holy Thursday, recalls the institution of the sacraments of the Eucharist and Holy Orders. The liturgy of Good Friday, in which we enter into the mystery of Christ’s redemptive death, invites us to contemplate the deep relationship between the Last Supper and the sacrifice of Calvary. Following the great silence of Holy Saturday, the Easter Vigil proclaims the resurrection of Christ and his victory over sin and death. May the joy of the resurrection even now fill our hearts as we prepare to celebrate the great events of the Lord’s Passover from death to the fullness of life.”
The past couple of weeks priests, bishops and even the pope have been under criticism from the media especially in Europe. Last week while visiting parishes in Germany and the Netherlands we could really feel this heaviness. In this year for priests – we continue to lift up the holy priests – may their example as foot washers this Holy Thursday remind us all about the call to serve in a deeper way. We are not called to serve only those who we easily love, we are called to wash the feet of the most difficult in our lives as well. Most priests I encounter, know this and live it by example. Thank you to all the Holy Priests who serve Life Teen throughout the world. We truly could not do this without your support and example.
Join Life Teen this year in praying for priests the following prayer:
Almighty Father, Hear the prayers of Your teens and their families and for the priests of our Church.
Grant to Your servants the dignity of the priesthood. Renew within them the Spirit of holiness. As a co-worker with the order of bishops, may they be faithful to the ministry that they receive from You, Lord God, and be to others a model of right conduct. As they stand at Your altars throughout the world offering Your Body and Blood to a people in need of Your love, unite their hearts with Your own Sacred Heart.
May Mother Mary wrap her mantle around Your priests and lead them always to Your Son. May the intercession of Saint John Vianney, the patron of Priests, keep them joyful in their vocation as Priests of Jesus Christ. We make this prayer in the name of the same Christ our Lord, Amen.