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‘Let us pray for our priests every day’

By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

Nov. 4, 2015

October 21, 2015, was the date Marty McFly traveled to a futuristic Hill Valley in the 1989 film, “Back to the Future II,” and was shocked by a newsflash that the Chicago Cubs had won the 2015 World Series. 

All season, baseball websites and sports writers penned stories about the prediction.  When it turned out that the 2015 Cubs were a good team, many folks wanted to believe that “Back to the Future II” got it right. 

Well, as it turns out, this wasn’t to be the year that the Cubbies broke the curse of 107 title-less years.  The movie’s prediction proved false.  Instead, those “Ya Gotta Believe” Mets are in the World Series. 

My belief in what’s going to happen in the future isn’t based on a popular movie or on the skill levels of athletes.

This Vocations Awareness Week, November 1-8, 2015, I see so many faith-filled parishioners, consecrated religious, deacons, seminarians, and priests doing their part in creating a culture of vocations here in the Diocese of Ogdensburg. 

Mine aren’t rose-colored glasses, but they are hope-filled because the lens through which we look into the future is Christ-led and Christ-fed.  As I look to the future of faith life in the North Country, I envision a culture of vocations where we recognize, more and more, that each of us is called to be holy and we respond to that call through different walks of life, same journey for all, just different ways of following Jesus. 

In this week’s issue of the North Country Catholic, we have an opportunity to express our gratitude to those whose walk of life is experienced as a priest. 

Pope Benedict XVI, during the Year for Priests, spoke of three fundamental priorities, pillars upon which a priest’s life rests:  the Eucharist and the Sacraments, the proclamation of the Word, and pastoral charity.

We know that the priest doesn’t just perform a “job” during working hours, and then is free and lives only for himself, but that he is a passionate man of Christ who carries in himself the fire of Christ’s love. 

The vigor of a priest’s life, the brightness of the flame, is fueled by his personal relationship with Jesus Christ. 
Priests (and bishops) never stop being disciples of Jesus, never stop following Him.  Sometimes we proceed quickly, at other times our step is uncertain, we stumble and we fall, but we, too, believe in and need God’s infinite mercy.

As our Envisioning Process continues to unfold and we strive to create a culture of vocations, I am inspired by our priests whose pastoral ministry reveals an intimate relationship with Jesus and deep love for His Church. 
We thank God for these men whose celebration of the Sacraments, Proclamation of God’s Word, and pastoral leadership help us all grow closer to Jesus and one another. 

Pope Francis wrote:  “Vocations are born in prayer and from prayer; and only through prayer can they persevere and bear fruit.”  

Let us pray for our priests every day as we beg the Lord for more laborers in His vineyard.

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