Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Year of the Priest

Pope Benedict XVI has declared June 19, 2009 to June 19, 2010 as the "Year of the Priest." Monastics are called in a special way to pray for priests, who are working directly with their flocks. During this "Year of the Priest" we will pray for specific priests, deacons, deacon students and seminarians of our eparchy each day of the week. We would like to share with you the prayer that we will pray communally each day. We invite you to print it out and pray along with us!

O Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, Who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses, and are completely without sin, hear our humble prayers on behalf of Your priests, deacons, and those studying for the priesthood and deaconate [N].

Strengthen and enliven those whom You have called to be leaders and servants to Your people here on earth. Give them a deep faith, courageous hope and a burning love for You which will ever intensify in the course of their priestly lives. Through Your Grace may they steadily grow in holiness and wisdom and become partakers of Your divine nature. May they never take for granted the gift of participation in Your Holy Mysteries, and always be in awe before Your true presence at Your holy table.

We ask that they always be vigilant and willing to defend the Gospel to the ends of the earth. May they embody Your sacrificial and all-consuming love, and instill in each person they encounter an unquenchable desire to seek and attain Your unfathomable love and promise of eternal life.

Grant them good health of soul, mind and body and that they zealously use their God-given gifts for the glory and honor of Your Kingdom. Sustain them in their fatigues and labors; give them patience and good counsel in their pastoral cares. Console them in their pains; fortify them in their combats, and keep them safe from the traps of the Evil One.

Comfort and overwhelm them with Your hope in times of loneliness, trouble and sorrow. Encourage them to see these experiences as opportunities to share in Your passion and be witnesses of joy, truth and integrity. Transform complacency into ardent conviction and excitement; discouragement, frustration and cynicism into courageous hope and positive thoughts, words and actions; desires for power and attitudes of entitlement into vulnerability to Your life-giving will and majestic power; anger and self-pity into passionate justice and the selfless sacrifice of Your love; ignorance and prejudice into wisdom and understanding. Cast out and heal the paralysis of fear and transform it into actions of perfect love.

Fill them with the gift of Your Holy Spirit, that they may be worthy to serve blamelessly at Your holy altar, to proclaim the gospel of Your kingdom, to sanctify the word of Your truth, to offer gifts and spiritual sacrifices, and to renew Your people by the washing of rebirth. In Your goodness grant that they may receive their reward of good stewardship at the time of Your second coming. We beseech You through the prayers of the most holy Theotokos and all the saints, for blessed and glorified is Your most honored and magnificent name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever and forever. Amen.

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