Friday, June 11, 2021
Today we celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests. It takes place each year on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in this month dedicated to His Sacred Heart.
There is no doubt that our world, our Church, is going through another period of adjustment and correction. There are so many issues dividing us and honestly much of it comes from misunderstanding, a basic lack of knowledge of the Truth. I believe…I need to believe…that the laity really do want to know what the Church teaches, what She has taught for almost 2000 years. Knowing that truth, believing that truth, could resolve so many of the issues.
We need strong faithful priests and bishops who are willing to speak and teach that truth to us. A phrase that comes to mind is “unapologetic apologetics”. We deserve it. Ven. Abp. Fulton J. Sheen knew it. Many of our current bishops and priests know it. But sadly, many do not.
This time in history provides a unique opportunity for us. Here in the United States, our Conference of Catholic Bishops is holding its General Assembly from June 16-18. My prayer is that they use this time to go back to our Truth. Come out of the meeting with a message that honors the infallible teaching of Holy Mother Church, unwavering in its meaning and significance. All of the wavering and compromise has left many wondering what the truth of the teaching is, or at least unsure of their ability to speak it with boldness. Well, I refuse. I will not fail to speak my faith with boldness. It is similar to disciplining a child. If he never gets a consistent message, and consistent consequences for challenging what he is taught, he will never learn what is expected of him. And trying to reinforce the teachings becomes much harder and takes much longer. He never really has a chance to learn from his history.
A priest recently spoke in his homily about the fact that, if we don’t learn from our history, we are bound to repeat it. He’s right. We need to learn. Erasing our history because someone finds it problematic means we cannot learn from it.
It also means that “everything that’s old is new again”. The challenges that we as a global Catholic Church are now facing are things we’ve faced before. And we overcame them, thanks in large part to priests who were willing to die to teach us the truths of our faith.
I’ve been listening to a song recently by Fr. Bill Quinlivan from the Diocese of Buffalo. It is entitled “Mass Rocks”, and speaks so powerfully about one such time in our history, though certainly not the only one. I’ve included the full lyrics and a link to the song at the end of this message with his permission. Let me just quote part of one verse here: “… recall penal times and tears. Teach each generation this history and the legacy of those years.” Teach us, but teach us the truth worth dying for. Don’t water it down. Don’t cave to pressures that want the Church to change it. Own it. We are praying for you because we know this road is hard.
Lord, we pray for the Church, that it may always be faithful to the gospel. Amen.
May God bless you all,
Find Fr. Bill Quinlivan at https://frbillsings.com/
For more information about the Mass rocks:
Mass Rocks, by Fr. Bill Quinlivan (https://youtu.be/InZchMxcveE)
To the Mass rocks came the priest for the holy sacrifice in persecuted years. And though they faced great danger sure, faith came sailing through tidal waves of fear. Our Church was suppressed by an enemy but our mighty God has a higher law. And while sentinels stood to keep people safe, much heroic faith lived out is what they saw.
Contented with all our blessings, should days be full of peace, please do not forget the bravery of the best of Irish priests. Today if you’re timing their homilies, recall penal times and tears. Teach each generation this history and the legacy of those years!
They met their people in the field to share the Eucharistic feast. Beaten, betrayed and exiled too, somehow zeal and hope increased! They stayed in lonely hiding places, camouflaged, in disguise. They risked their lives to pastor flocks, servants proven to be prudent and wise.
To the Mass rocks came the priest.”