I had the great joy of assisting at the ordination of a dear friend, and at his first Masses [one coram episcopo, then his first Mass at the monastery that is his childhood stomping grounds, and then some low Masses].
The pictures below are from the Mass at Holy Hill. It was a Solemn High Mass on the Feast of the Precious Blood. He asked me months ago if I could MC and I am so happy to have quickly (without much of any hesitation) responded an emphatic YES!
A small group of young courageous men in Rome often carry on conversations about the importance of friendship. This has been a huge aspect of my prayer and study ever since I began studying the Carmelite Saints years ago while at my first seminary. I was intrigued by the friendship of Saint Teresa and Saint John of the Cross. AND I was even more intrigued as to how all of this fit into the insistence on detachment in the Christian life.
I would dare to say that where friendships cannot be made the moral life will certainly crumble. What is the spiritual life other than friendship with Christ, true Love Crucified? All of the moral problems we are dealing with [complete license in the realm of marital acts/confusion of the ends of marriage, homosexual acts/SSA/identification, seminary formation, priestly perseverance..etc.] are rooted in a misguided understanding of friendship, and thus love. So much can be said on this; and I hope I will be disciplined enough to develop this topic in the future.
I cannot speak more highly of my experience the few days I was up north for the ordination and first Masses. And I cannot stress how necessary it is that the faithful are praying for priests and offering sacrifices and penance for the sanctification of priests. They are under attack, the good ones even more so. The demons hate priests! And! In my experience in talking with priests or what I have observed over the past 10 years of seeing wonderful, courageous priests leave the priesthood, is that the judgment of a priest can be so clouded when he has been beaten down, criticized, abandoned by his fellow priests or by the faithful or by his own bishop..
On a positive note, the heart of a priest is a beautiful object for meditation. Bishop Morlino preached on the intimacy a priest has with Jesus, highlighting in the old form of ordination that there is an antiphon prayed that Christ no longer calls the ordinand a servant, but a friend! We do not appreciate this enough. And it is a huge responsibility for a priest to foster this friendship with Christ – it is his whole life! …but he needs our prayers, and our support. It is a huge temptation in the traditional circles to disregard this, by way of petty anger or hypercriticism or many other pitfalls that become traps in said circles.
I know all this could be said more eloquently, but I encourage you to share this and to write to me any thoughts on this topic above. And I encourage you to send a letter/message of gratitude to priests who, in the laying down of their life, have cared for your soul.
Enjoy the pictures below – 1 July 2018 First Mass at Holy Hill National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians, Wisconsin:
[Some things of note, he gave a little catechism on the Mass prior to the start, many commented on how helpful this was – as of the ~600 people there only a handful had been to the TLM prior to this. He publicly gave the manutergium from his ordination and the confessional stole from his first confession to his parents. Also, after the Mass many commented on how beautiful the ceremonies were and wondered if they could “have this every weekend” – yes, yes, you may – WRITE TO YOUR BISHOPS. Do it! Let your voice be heard. Pictures by Don Elvir.]