We Are Our Fathers’ Keepers

The following is the cover story in the latest issue of Marian Helper magazine. Order a free copy.

By Terry Peloquin

If you’re angry with the Church, good. If the clergy abuse scandal and its aftermath has you fed up, good. If you’re distraught by divisions within the Church, good. You should be.

Pope Benedict XVI once said that “nothing makes the Church, the Body of Christ, suffer more than the sins of her pastors.”

Indeed, your anger can be your great motivator to do what needs to be done: to pray for holy priests and to pray priests into holiness.

We need men who will assist the faithful in coming to know, love, serve, and bear witness to Jesus, the Divine Mercy. We need our ministers of the great Sacraments of mercy — the Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation — to be credible and authentic men who themselves have recourse to the Divine Mercy and heed the call to daily conversion.

This was a matter near and dear to St. Faustina. This is a matter that’s near and dear to many Marian Helpers. It needs to be something near and dear to us all. We must pray for the clergy, for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon them, that they do the will of God always and everywhere. 

We must pray that God do for the entire Church what He’s surely doing for the Marian Fathers these days: raising up faithful men who answer the call to save souls. The Church needs them. The world needs them.

“Last year, when the news about Cardinal McCarrick was breaking and people were feeling terribly angry — has that anger abated?” Fr. Dan Cambra, MIC, spiritual director of the Marians’ Holy Souls Sodality, asked at a recent conference. “Certainly not. Have more bishops, cardinals, and archbishops come forward to demonstrate the absolute [fallen] humanity of the clergy, the hierarchy? Shamefully, yes. They have demonstrated it in their ... willingness to compromise with Satan in order to achieve some earthly end.”

Father Dan continued, “Does that mean that the Church is in dire straits? It certainly does. Does it mean that we should abandon the Church? Certainly not! This is not the Church of Cardinal McCarrick or any other cleric or hierarch you would care to name. This, the Roman Catholic Church, is, of course, the Church of Jesus Christ.”

‘You Must Pray for Me’
You may wonder: Is this crisis of the clergy beyond the help of prayer?

Let’s take a look at a different Church crisis, one that happened a century ago. In 1918, a Marian priest, now known as Blessed George Matulaitis-Matulewicz, saw governments ban religious orders or forbid them to receive candidates. Undeterred, he began the work of rebuilding the Marian Congregation after this political persecution had caused Marian numbers to dwindle to a single priest (hence his title “Marian Renovator”).

He had expected that the revival of the Marian Congregation would be his sole mission. Then he learned that — against his wishes — Pope Benedict XV had appointed him bishop of Vilnius. With a pastor’s heart, he addressed his unexpected flock by stating what should be the goals of every priest. At his installation as bishop on Dec. 8, 1918, he said: 

As I go to the altar to offer holy Mass to our heavenly Father, I shall offer the spotless Lamb of God not only for myself, but for the whole diocese — that the good may be strengthened, that sinners return to God, that the sick and the afflicted be at peace, that the departed receive mercy and be saved. I shall be your teacher. … I shall bring you God’s grace in the holy sacraments. ... I am prepared to lay down my life for the truth. 

Bishop Matulaitis knew that “momentous duties” awaited him, and he knew he’d need help to fulfill them. So he then asked:

What can I expect of you? If from now on we are to be one large family, then we must work together. I shall pray for you, and you must pray for me. This I ask of you most fervently (George Matulaitis-Matulewicz, Journal, Appendix I, page 341-342).

‘One Large Family’
It’s telling that Blessed George referred to this partnership in God’s work as “one large family.” Remember, it was Blessed George who envisioned the Association of Marian Helpers. He realized that a priest cannot reach everyone. “The laity must come to the aid of the clergy,” he said, “so that both could work together in this most important task of spreading true Catholic teaching.”

Herein lies the purpose of the Association of Marian Helpers — our “Marian family.” Our ultimate common goal, simply put, is helping souls to Heaven.

Why is praying for priests so important to this mission? 

Remember that without our priests, we do not have anyone to administer the Sacraments — sources of the grace that Jesus offers us through the Church. The devil relishes attacks on the priesthood because the Sacraments help us reach Heaven. He doesn’t want us in Heaven!

In a homily on Sept. 8, Fr. Dan considered a word from St. Paul’s Letter to Philemon. “Saint Paul and all of the other apostles were always called ‘Father’ because they were the ones who baptized everyone, and they were the ones who became the spiritual fathers to their faith community.” The practice of calling a priest “father” continues to this day.

“If you know a priest whom you do not think is living the life that he’s supposed to be living as a holy man of God, you have been given the task to pray for him,” Fr. Dan said.

Prescribed Prayer
“We all have a responsibility for one another,” Fr. Dan explained. “In the guidelines for celebrating the Liturgy, there’s the Prayers of the Faithful. And there are guidelines even in the Prayers of the Faithful that say, first of all, you need to pray for the Holy Father. No one is in more need of prayer than the Holy Father” because he is the main target for the adversary, the evil one. 

“You need to pray for your bishop every time you celebrate Mass. You name your bishop by name because he needs prayers more than anyone else in the diocese. And you need to pray for priests and religious.”

Now more than ever, our Church needs us to pray for holy priests, men who will teach and preach the truth, men who will be the visible presence of Christ in the world, men who will act in the name of the whole Church when presenting to God the Church’s prayer (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1552).

If you’re angry, that’s understandable. But in the name of Jesus Christ and out of love for His holy Roman Catholic Church, let’s get to work.


St. Faustina’s Prayer for Holy Priests
In her
Diary, St. Faustina frequently wrote how important priests were to her for spiritual direction, and she often prayed and offered sacrifices on their behalf. Below is St. Faustina’s prayer for holy priests as recorded in her Diary, 1052:

O my Jesus, I beg You on behalf of the whole Church:
Grant it love and the light of Your Spirit, and give
power to the words of priests so that hardened hearts
might be brought to repentance and return to You, O
Lord. Lord, give us holy priests; You yourself maintain
them in holiness. O Divine and Great High Priest, may
the power of Your mercy accompany them everywhere
and protect them from the devil’s traps and snares which
are continually being set for the souls of priests. May the
power of Your mercy, O Lord, shatter and bring to
naught all that might tarnish the sanctity of priests, for
You can do all things.

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