Prayer for Priests

O ILLUSTRIOUS PATRIARCH St. Joseph, who carried the Infant Jesus
in thy blessed arms and who, during the space of thirty years, lived in
the most intimate familiarity with Him, take under thy powerful protection
those whom He has clothed with His authority and honored with with the
dignity of His priesthood, whom He has charged to continue His mission,
to preach His Gospel, and to dispense everywhere His graces
and blessings. Sustain them in their fatigues and labors; console
them in their pains; fortify them in their combats; but above all,
keep far from them all the evils of sin.

Obtain for them the humility of St. John the Baptist, the faith of
St. Peter, the zeal and charity of St. Paul, the purity of St. John
and the spirit of prayer and recollection of  which thou, my
dear Saint, art the model, so that, after having been on earth,
the faithful dispensers of the Mysteries of thy foster Son,
Our Lord Jesus Christ, they may in Heaven receive the
recompense promised to pastors according to the
Heart of God. Amen.

From the Booklet, Favorite Prayers to St. Joseph

The Fatherhood of the Priest

From the Booklet, St. Joseph, Fatima and Fatherhood
by Msgr. Joseph Cirrincione with Thomas Nelson

The role of the priest in relation to Christ is strikingly analogous to the role of St. Joseph in relation to God the Father. Just as the Eternal Father willed to share His Fatherhood with St. Joseph---such that they were "Co-Fathers," as it were---so Jesus willed to share His Fatherhood with the priest, who becomes "Co-Father" with Him of the Baptized. Now it becomes obvious why we call our priests "Father," for the priest is an alter Christus, "another Christ," through whom Christ works. And as Christ is our Father in the faith, we call His official representative "Father" as well, in order to acknowledge the profound truth of Christ's spiritual  fatherhood of us all who believe in Him and are Baptized. this is the only satisfying answer to the Protestants' objection quoted from Scripture, "Call no man on earth your father . . ." In effect, we are not calling the Catholic priest "Father," by reason of his person, but by reason of his office; in effect, when we call the priest "Father," we are actually calling Christ "Father," Whose instrument and representative the priest really is.

We find this concept used by St. Paul in First Corinthians [3:9], where he refers to himself and to Apollo as "God's co-workers," with the Father and "co-fathers" with the Son, as he reminds the Corinthians in the next chapter, "For if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, by the Gospel, I have begotten you." [4:15] Thus, just as Jesus could say, "The Father and I are one," so he can say, "the priest and I are one," because it is His priesthood that they share. And whatever the priest in his role as priest, he does in Christ's name.

As in the case of St. Joseph, it is in the priest's role or office, not in his person, that his authority resides . . . in the Eucharist, when the priest prays the words of Consecration: "this is My Body," "This is . . . My Blood . . ." the union between Christ and the priest reaches its most intimate moment. Only Divine power can effect the awesome change of bread and wine into the Boy and Blood of Jesus Christ. Yet the priest, by the authority and power conferred on him by Christ Himself, does effect this tremendous change of the substance of bread and wine into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, even when he does so unworthily [that is, when the priest may unfortunately not be in the state of grace when he says Mass]. Thus, since, in the Consecration of the Mass, the death of Christ, the source of our supernatural life, is made present on the altar by the words of the priest, he the priest, stands revealed as Christ, in Christ's role as our spiritual Father, present among us today.

Like St. Joseph, the priest enjoys a very special authority, one conferred on him by the Will of God. But also, like St. Joseph, his role as father burdens him with duties and responsibilities. St. Joseph taught the young Jesus to pray, introduced Him to the Psalms, led Him to the habitual practice of communion with God, even while at work. The priest too has the duty to pray, not just in his own name, but in the name of the Church, when he recites the Divine Office . . . and flowing from his life of prayer and interior union with Christ comes the power to convert souls in Christ . . . Prayer and ministry of the Word! This was the life of Christ, whose Fatherhood priests share ---the fatherhood of Him who, at the beginning of His life on earth was hailed by Simeon in the temple, 'A light to the revelation of the Gentiles" and who, before ascending into Heaven, instructed His disciples thus: "All Power is given to Me in Heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world." [Matt. 28:18-20]. Christ and the priests . . . one now and forever!