Monsignor Joseph Strickland, a blogging priest from Texas, was appointed last week to be the bishop of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas by Pope Benedict XVI. Just a few days ago the Bishop-elect wrote this tribute to his brother priests and posted it on his blog asking, "If you read this and you're not a priest please pass it on to all the priests you know. If you are a priest please receive it as a small expression of thanks for all you do and pass it on to a brother who may need a boost."
I usually find such tributes to clergy too pious and saccharine but Strickland's words are right on target. As the Bishop-elect asked, please share this with other priests you know and appreciate.
A Tribute to my brother priests
A Catholic priest is a man of God but shares all the hopes, fears, dreams, concerns and daily challenges of every other man.
He often finds himself alone but at any moment he may be called into the most significant moments of another person's life. The door bell rings, a cell phone buzzes, there's a knock on the door or the office phone clangs and in a moment he goes from alone and quiet to "ministry mode" congratulating on a new birth, consoling in the midst of crisis, accepting an invitation to dinner, offering comfort at the news of a death, trying to calm a complaining parishioner or simply accepting the latest blurb that MUST be included in the next bulletin.
He often finds himself surrounded by a crowd of people but at any moment transported to a deep and quiet place where he encounters the Lord alone. Often this occurs at Mass when the words from a hymn, a glimpse of a familiar face, a favorite phrase from scripture or an oft repeated line from the ritual of the Mass cause him to pause and be reminded of the deep purpose of his life.
In between these moments the priest finds himself going about the business of life with all his brothers and sisters. The myriad of normal daily life images that every man encounters from the sublime thoughts of the mysteries of God encountered on a marble altar to the realization that he really does need to see what that "check engine" light on the dashboard of his car is all about.
When priests fail those they are called to serve, when they stumble in their own sinfulness or when their patience wears thin... remember they are just men. Men called by the Lord to do great things in the name of Jesus Christ, God's own Son.
Pray for your priests as they pray for you.
Congratulations, Bishop Strickland - and thank you!
Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments