Evangelisation: Priests and their Pastoral Ministry
“The tiredness of priests…Do you know how often I think about it?”
This is the opening line of Pope Francis’s prayer video dedicated to his intention for the month of July 2018. He closes the video asking Catholics to join him in praying “that priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests.”
The pope has often spoken of the need for consecrated persons to care for their vocation both spiritually and temporally, especially when he is meeting with priests and religious during his international trips. His specific concern for priests who feel weary on the job goes back to the beginning of his pontificate, and is an issue he has brought up on multiple occasions.
In his homily for the chrism Mass during Holy Week in 2015, the pope spoke to priests directly about getting worn out, saying: “the tiredness of priests! Do you know how often I think about this weariness which all of you experience?” “I think about it and I pray about it, often, especially when I am tired myself,” he said, and admitted that he prays for every priest and their ministry, especially those who serve “in lonely and dangerous places”.
The tiredness of a holy priest who gives his life in service, Francis said during the Mass, “is like incense which silently rises up to heaven. Our weariness goes straight to the heart of the Father”.
We remember with affection and gratitude the gift of "holy priesthood" to the Church and we pray fervently for all our priests, in particular our pastors and those who serve as our spiritual directors, priests relatives and priest friends.
Sr Mary Immaculate Okoye (Rome, Via degli Artisti)