“I will raise the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord” (Ps 116: 13).
“Every day we draw from the Body and Blood of the Lord the free and pure love that makes us worthy ministers of Christ and witnesses to His joy. What the faithful expect from a priest is the example of authentic devotion to the Eucharist. They like to see him spend long periods of silence and adoration before Jesus, as did the saintly ‘Cure of Ars’ whom we will especially recall during the imminent Year for Priests”
(Pope Benedict XVI, Corpus Christi Homily, celebrated on June 11 in Rome).
The Year for Priests
Following is an excerpt from Pope Benedict XVI’s Letter to Priests—in honor of the Year for Priests—which began on the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Year for Priests celebrates the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Vianney, Patron of Parish Priests:
St. John Vianney“spoke of the priesthood as if incapable of fathoming the grandeur of the gift and task entrusted to a human creature: ‘O, how great is the priest! ... If he realised what he is, he would die. ... God obeys him: he utters a few words and the Lord descends from heaven at his voice, to be contained within a small host’. Explaining to his parishioners the importance of the Sacraments, he would say: “Without the Sacrament of Holy Orders, we would not have the Lord. Who put Him there in that tabernacle? The priest. Who welcomed your soul at the beginning of your life? The priest. Who feeds your soul and gives it strength for its journey? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, bathing it one last time in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest, always the priest. And if this soul should happen to die [as a result of sin], who will raise it up, who will restore its calm and peace? Again, the priest. ... After God, the priest is everything! ... Only in heaven will he fully realise what he is'. These words, welling up from the priestly heart of the holy pastor, might sound excessive. Yet they reveal the high esteem in which he held the Sacrament of the Priesthood. He seemed overwhelmed by a boundless sense of responsibility: ‘Were we to fully realise what a priest is on earth, we would die: not of fright, but of love. ... Without the priest, the passion and death of our Lord would be of no avail. It is the priest who continues the work of redemption on earth. ... What use would be a house filled with gold, were there no one to open its door? The priest holds the key to the treasures of heaven: it is he who opens the door: he is the steward of the good Lord; the administrator of His goods. ... Leave a parish for twenty years without a priest, and they will end by worshipping the beasts there. ... The priest is not a priest for himself, he is a priest for you.’”
“The Eucharist is, in this perspective, at the heart of priestly spirituality. Thus Eucharistic adoration for the sanctification of priests and the spiritual motherhood of religious women, consecrated and lay women towards priests, as previously proposed some time ago by the Congregation for the Clergy, could be further developed and would certainly bear the fruit of sanctification” (Letter for the Year of the Priests, Cardinal Cleudio Hummes, Archbishop Emeritus of Seo Paulo, Prefect, Congregation for the Clergy).
St. Peter Julian Eymard, Priest of the Eucharist, said that adorers are “not content to be alone in adoring, loving, and serving the God of the Eucharist,” they wish “to make Him adored, loved and served by all to erect a throne of love for Him everywhere and find faithful adorers for Him.”
St. Thomas the Apostle, Martyr (d. 74)—Feast, July 3
“In the consecrated Host we find...that same Jesus who rose again and appeared to the Apostles and in whose wounds Thomas put his finger” (Divine Intimacy, Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.).
St. Elizabeth (Isabel), Wife, Mother, Queen of Portugal (1271-1336)—Feast, July 4
Patroness of the Third Order Franciscans, St. Elizabeth was devoted to Our Lord in a life of prayer and service from her youth. She attended daily Mass and prayed for peace in her family and kingdom.
Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, Ptn. of World Youth Days, Italy (1901-1925)—Feast, July 4
Bl. Pier attended daily Mass and frequent Adoration, sometimes remaining before the Blessed Sacrament all night. He was devoted to the Rosary, his family and country. Amid studies, Bl. Pier cared for the sick, poor and wounded veterans. He was a popular youth and offered his life for others.
St. Maria Goretti, Ptn. of Youth & Children of Mary, Italy (1890-1902)—Feast, July 6
“Lord God, you gave St. Maria Goretti the crown of eternal joy because she gave her life rather than renounce the virginity she had promised to Christ. With the courage this Eucharist brings help us to rise out of the bondage of our earthly desires and attain to the glory of your kingdom” (Prayer).
St. Benedict, Priest, Founder of the Benedictines, Italy (c.480-547)—Feast, July 11
St. Benedict loved Jesus Crucified and the Holy Eucharist. He is invoked for help against evil. After his death, a medal was developed with St. Benedict and the Cross, along with special protection inscriptions, including in Latin: “May his presence protect us in the hour of death.”
Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha, Consecrated Virgin, N. America (1656-1680)—Feast, July 14
“Kateri, favored child and Lily of the Mohawks . . .obtain for me a very fervent devotion to the Holy Eucharist” (Novena Prayer).
St. Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor, Italy (c. 1218-1274)—Feast, July 15
“Grant that my soul may hunger for You, the Bread of Angels, theRefreshment of holy souls, our daily and ever-satisfying Bread, whichcontains all possible sweetness.Let my heart ever hunger after You and feed upon You, upon whom the angels desire to gaze” (St. Bonaventure).
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel—July 16: Wear the Scapular! Pray the Rosary! Honor Our Lady!
Our Blessed Mother promised that all who wear the Scapular will not suffer the flames of hell. Many conversions and healings have been reported from wearing the Scapular.Our Lady leads us to her Son!
St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Priest, Capuchin, Army Chaplain, Italy—Feast, July 21
St. Lawrence went into ecstasy while offering Mass. As chaplain for the Imperial army of Prague, though aged, he led his vastly outnumbered men—with Cross in hand—into battle against the Turks. They were waging war against Christian countries. When St. Lawrence returned victorious from battle, and gathered with his brothers, Our Lord appeared and Himself gave them Holy Communion!
St. Mary Magdalene (1st Century)—Feast, July 22
“When Jesus gives Himself to us in this Sacrament, we possess Him . . . as Magdalen did when she caressed and kissed his feet” (Fr. Lukas Etlin, The Holy Eucharist).
St. Sharbel Makhluf, Priest and Hermit, Lebanon (1828-1898)—Feast, July 24
This “Wonder Worker of the East,” is known for his life of holiness, work, penance and passionate love of the Blessed Sacrament. He offered Mass and prayed the Rosary at Eucharistic Adoration day and night. Following his death numerous miracles were wrought through his intercession.
St. James the Apostle, Martyr, (d. 42)—Feast, July 25
“‘If anyone among you is sad, let him pray’ (Jas 5:13). Eucharistic prayer is particularly effective in banishing sadness. For there we commune personally with the true presence of the Lord” (Fr. Foley).
St. Martha, Friend of Jesus, Bethany--Feast, July 29
“The words of Martha, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day’ (John 11:24), echo in our souls as we pray and grieve for our beloved dead. In what better place could we pray for the dead than before the Eucharist, where we can experience Our Blessed Savior Present?” (S. Tassone).
St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop, Doctor of Church, Italy (c. 380-450)--Feast, July 30
“He is the bread sown in the virgin, leavened in the flesh, moulded in his passion, baked in the furnace of the sepulchre, placed in the churches, and set upon the altars” (St. Peter).
St. Ignatius of Loyola, Priest, Founder of Jesuits, Spain (1491-1556)—Feast, July 31
So deep was the love of St. Ignatius for the Blessed Sacrament that while offering Mass he was moved to tears. He promoted Holy Communion and instituted 40 hours of Adoration in reparation for sins.
St. Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor, Italy (1696-1787)—Feast, Aug. 1
“Jesus seems continually to exclaim from the altar: Come to me, all you who work hard and who carry heavy burdens and I will refresh you (Matthew 11:28). Come, He says, come you who are poor; come, you who are infirm; come, you who are afflicted; come, you who are just and you who are sinners, and you shall find in me a remedy for all your losses and afflictions. This is the desire of Jesus Christ: to console every person who calls upon Him” (St. Alphonsus Liguori).
St. John Vianney, Cure of Ars, Patron of Priests, France (1786-1859)—Feast, Aug. 4
“We ought to visit Him often. How dear to Him is a quarter of an hour spared from our occupations or from some useless employment, to come and pray to Him, visit Him, and console Him for all the ingratitude He receives! When He sees pure souls hurrying to Him, He smiles at them” (St. John).
St. Dominic, Priest, Dominicans Founder, Spain (1170-1221)—Feast, Aug. 8
St. Dominic’s ardent love of the Blessed Sacrament and the Rosary strengthened him in his mission of prayer and the conversion of souls. Fueled by the Eucharist, he preached the Gospel far and wide.
St. Clare of Assisi, Foundress of Poor Clare Nuns, Italy (1193-1253)—Feast, Aug. 11
The Saracens, eager to kill Christians, broke down the wall and entered the cloister of San Damiano where St. Clare and her Sisters. Though sick, St. Clare asked her Sisters to take her to the door and bring her the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance for protection. Kneeling, she prayed, “Could it be your will, Lord, to deliver your servants whom you have nourished in your love into the hands of pagans? Guard them, Lord, for in this hour I am unable to take care of them.” The Eucharistic Jesus spoke to her as a child: “I will care for you always.” The Saracens fled and the Sisters were saved.
St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe, Priest, Martyr, Poland (1894-1941)—Feast, Aug. 14
He “often visited the Blessed Sacrament. In any difficulty, he ran to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament to seek the necessary strength. He desired to work by means of perpetual adoration” (Fr. Mirochna).
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven—Solemnity, August 15
“Today the sacred and living ark of the living God, who conceived her Creator himself, takes up her abode in the temple of God” (St. John Damascene).
St. Tarcisius, Martyr, Altar Server, Ptn. of First Communicants, Italy (d. 255)—Feast, Aug. 15
“Christ’s secret gifts [the Eucharist] by good Tarcisius borne, the mob profanely bade him to display; He rather gave his own limbs to be torn than Christ’s celestial to mad dogs betray” (Pope St. Damasus).
St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Widow, Mother, Religious, France (1572-1641)—Feast, Aug. 18
Lived a Eucharistic life which strengthened her in trials and impelled her to found many convents.
St. John Eudes, Priest, Founder of Religious Congregations, France (1601-1680)—Feast, Aug. 19
Kindled by love of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, St. John spread devotion to the two hearts by preaching, working, and caring for souls. He labored for the Sacred Heart Feast to be honored at Mass.
Our Lady of Knock, Ireland, Apparition (1879)—Feast, Aug. 21
Our Lady appeared to fifteen people wearing a crown and clothed in white. St. Joseph was on her right, and St. John the Evangelist on her left, holding open a book believed to be Revelation. At St. John’s left, on an altar, was The Lamb of God, glorified, surrounded by angels. The silent apparition, proclaiming the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and calling for us to adore Him, lasted two hours.
Pope St. Pius X, Pope of the Eucharist, Italy (1835-1914)—Feast, Aug. 21
“The Holy Eucharist and the interior life: this is the supreme Adoration of the Real Presence and universal lesson which St. Pius X, from the height of glory, teaches in this hour to all souls” (Pius XII).
The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary—Feast, August 22
Mary, Queen of Clergy, pray for them. Help them to faithfully love and serve Jesus in the Eucharist!
St. Monica, Wife, Mother of St. Augustine, North Africa (332-387)—Feast, Aug. 27
St. Monica didn’t give up praying at the altar, amid tears, for the conversion of her son. God heard!
St. Augustine, Bishop, Doctor of the Church, North Africa, (354-430)—Feast, Aug. 28
The Incarnation “made the One Who abides equal in eternity to the Father, equal to us in mortality, imposing the form of a servant on the Lord of the world; so that Bread itself would be hungry, Full-ness would be thirsty, Strength would become weak, Health would be wounded, and Life would die!”
St. Gregory the Great, Pope, Church Doctor, Italy (540-640) —Feast, September 3
St. Gregory helped renew the priesthood. He focused on the spiritual and appointed others to oversee the temporal, proclaimed the Real Presence in his homilies and wrote Chants for the sacred liturgy.
Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Missionary, Sister, Macedonia (1910-1997)—Feast, Sept. 5
Mother desired Adoration. “Behold, most loving Jesus, to what an excess your boundless love carried You. Of your own flesh and precious blood you have made ready for me a divine banquet in order to give yourself to me. What impelled you to this act of love? It was your heart, your loving heart.”
Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary—Sept. 8
“When the most holy Virgin was born, the whole world was made radiant; blessed is the branch and blessed the stem which bore such holy fruit” (Liturgy of the Hours). Our Blessed Lady was born of Sts. Anne and Joachim. God created in Mary a tabernacle for His Son Jesus, the Living Bread.
St. Peter Claver, Jesuit Priest, Missionary, South America (1581-1654) —Feast, Sept. 9
St. Peter spent 40 years of his missionary life ministering to forgotten slaves with boundless charity. Inspired by the Eucharist, He organized catechists, administered the Sacraments and enrolled the slaves in the Scapular. By God’s grace, his prayers, penances and indefatigable labors were responsible for over 300,000 converts. St. Peter was beatified on the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel!
Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Blessed Be Thy Holy Name!—Sept. 12
“In the same way as the rebel angels fly from sinners who invoke the name of Mary, so also do the good angels approach nearer to just souls who pronounce her name with devotion” (St. Bridget).
St. Catherine of Genoa (1447-1507) Wife, Mystic, Italy—September 15
St. Catherine’s greatest love was the Eucharist: “If I had to go miles and miles over burning coals in order to receive Jesus, I would say the way was easy, as if I were walking on a carpet of roses.”
Our Lady of Sorrows: “Behold your Mother!” (Jn 19:27)—Sept. 15
“You cannot refuse anything to this Queen, Your Mother. Therefore, in her name, we ask the reign of Your Sacred Heart through the Holy Eucharist. Prove to us once more that she is all-powerful when the interests of Your glory are at stake” (Fr. Mateo Crawley-Boevey). Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us!
St. Robert Bellarmine, Priest, Cardinal, Jesuit, Ptn. of Catechists (1542-1621), Italy—Sept. 17
“The Holy Eucharist is offered to us on our pilgrimage as food so that we do not faint on the path to the fatherland, especially at the time when, tired by a long journey, our forces are apt to wane The Lord left his Body in the Eucharist as a pledge of heavenly beatitude” (St. Robert).
St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, Priest, Stigmatist, Mystic, Italy (1887-1968)—Feast, Sept. 23
“The center of the spiritual life of Padre Pio was the Eucharistic Jesus. His devotion polarized around the tabernacle. Jesus, the Word Incarnate, was not distant in time and space to Padre Pio, but very close to him, living with him under the same roof, hidden under the eucharistic Species. Hour by hour, day and night, he would linger in conversation with the Divine Inhabitant of the tabernacle. When asked where he could be found if he was not in his cell or in the confessional, he answered: ‘Come and look for me in the choir, in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.’ The sleepless nights, spent in prayer, were a preparation for Mass and union with Christ in Holy Communion. The days, lived in prayer, in the confessional, in his priestly ministry, were a hymn of thanksgiving. His thoughts, his looks, his sighs, were always for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, from whom he could not separate himself without suffering, as if attracted by a powerful magnet” (Padre Alberto D’Apolito).
Feast of Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Saints—Feast, Sept. 29
“O angelic spirits, who guard our tabernacles, wherein lies the adorable treasure of the Holy Eucharist, defend it from profanation and preserve it for our love” (St. Josemaria Escriva).
St. Jerome, Priest & Doctor, Patron of Librarians, Dalmatia (c. 340-d. 420), Sept. 30
St. Jerome was a great Scripture scholar. “Without doubt, the Lord grants all favors which are asked of Him in Mass, provided they be fitting for us; and, which is a matter of great wonder, ofttimes He also grants that also which is not demanded of Him, if we, on our part, put no obstacle in the way.”
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