A Priest is Not a Priest for Himself, He is a Priest for You

Homily by Father Lawrence Lynch, Carmelite, Kilkenny Ireland


May 7, 2010, in Medjugorje


Fr. Lawrence Lynch, Ireland, in Medjugorje

Fr. Lawrence Lynch on May 7, 2010 in Medjugorje.

There is only one thing I wish to tell you today, only one thing I want to leave you with. I think it is so important, and it simply is this…pray for priests!

The rest of my homily will be spelling out why I think it is so important for people like yourselves to pray for us priests. I’m sure many of you would be very surprised to hear that a priest who has been ordained for almost50 years, thank God, would find it difficult to prepare a homily for patrons like yourselves. Perhaps the reason why I find it difficult is because I spent most of my life as a priest in Zimbabwe in central Africa. I was ministering to people who come from a very different background than ours, a totally different culture than ours, and speak a completely different language than ours. They were first generation Christians, emerging from, and still surrounded by pagan customs. So, you see, I spent most of my life proclaiming to people with that type of background, in that kind of situation.

Before coming here to Medjugorje, I spent quite a lot of time trying to prepare a really special homily for Medjugorje. The other night, as I went back over it, it almost sounded too ponderous, so I put all of those neat, nicely typed pages to one side and I said, “Look, I will speak to the people not from my head, but from my heart.” So, when I say pray for priests, that’s a request that comes from my heart.

It’s not easy to be a priest nowadays; in fact, it has never been easy to be a good priest. It’s an awesome calling, an awesome vocation …the priesthood. This year has been dedicated as a year for priests by the Holy Father. In his address on the opening of the year of priests on the feast of the Sacred Heart last June, he said that, “…a priest should grow in intimacy with Jesus, who depends so much on us; a priest should radiate Christ’s love and be totally won over by prayer.” He continues, “Let us ask the Lord to set the heart of every priest on fire with pastoral charity, so that he may be able to imitate Jesus in total self-giving.” These are high ideals. So, pray for us, pray for priests, so we may be able to live up to such high ideals. Remember us in your prayer groups as well as in your personal prayer. Ask the Lord to empower priests to radiate the compassion and love of Christ through our modern and often materialistic world.

I should mention too that this year is the 150th anniversary of the death of Saint John Vianney, also known as the Cure of Ars, who is the patron saint of parish priests. In his life he was overwhelmed by the wonder of the priesthood. He gives us something worth thinking about, “If a priest realized what he is, he would die. God obeys him, he offers a few words at Holy Mass and the Lord descends from Heaven, at his voice, to be contained within a small host…” He continues, “We would not have the Lord. Who puts the Lord there in the Tabernacles? The priest. Who welcomed your soul at the beginning of your life? The priest. Who feeds your soul and gives it strength for your life journey? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, bathing it one last time with the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest. Always the priest! If a soul should sin, who will raise it up, who will restore its calm and peace? Again, the priest.” After God, the priest is in everything. Saint John Vianney concludes, “A priest is not a priest for himself, he is a priest for you.” So, the vocation to the priesthood carries huge responsibilities and is indeed awesome. But, yet, in a moment of weakness, a priest could cause untold harm to the most vulnerable in society.

So, again I say, pray for your priests. Every priest is called to be another Christ. Every priest should be able to say, as Saint Paul, “I live now, not I, but Christ lives in me.” There is a beautiful summary of what exactly the priesthood is in the preface of priesthood said every year in the Mass of Chrism celebrated by the bishop, and in that preface for priests are some of these sentiments. It speaks of priests that have been ordained to renew the sacrifice of Calvary. That is exactly what happens at every Mass, the priest renews the sacrifice of Calvary; Christ’s oblation of Himself and the Risen Lord comes among us. It goes on, “The priest is called to lead God’s people in love, nourish them with God’s word, and strengthen them through the Sacraments. Priests are to give their lives in God’s service, and grow in the likeness of Christ.” Priests need your prayers to help them live up to such ideals. You might think of the many times you have been absolved of your sins through the ministry of a priest, of all the Masses you have attended where you have received comfort and the strength to keep going. You might think of the many times you’ve been offered a word of encouragement and support, the times he’s administered the Sacrament of the sick to a loved one, and the times he’s resided at a funeral, as you said a fine farewell to a family member or a friend. Consider everything that flows to you through the ministry of priests, and you will agree with Saint John Vianney, who said, “A good priest is the greatest treasure the good Lord can grant to a parish, and one of the precious gifts of Divine Mercy.” So, pray for priests.

Pray also for vocations. I often say, if there are no vocations today, there will be no priests tomorrow. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into His vineyard. Make your prayer for vocations personal. Pray for a vocation from your own parish. Pray for a vocation from your own family. Pray, too, that those who have been called to the priesthood at this time may have the faith and the courage to say yes to God’s plan for them. Challenge people. If there is someone you feel might be a suitable candidate for the priesthood, pop the question, “Have you ever thought of the priesthood?”

Just a personal story that happened a number of years ago here in Medjugorje. I bumped into a taxi driver from Dublin, I had never seen before, so I popped the question, “Have you ever thought of becoming a priest?” I’ll never forget his answer. He said, “I have been asked that question once before and I needn’t be asked it again.” The good news, on Saturday of next week he will be ordained a deacon and will be ordained to the priesthood next year, thank God. Don’t be afraid to pop that kind of question to a young man or even an older man. A number of years ago a man who had been a solicitor all his life, a married man, and then his wife died and his family was reared. He was ordained to the priesthood at the age of seventy. A nephew of mine had brought his child to the clinic and happened to sit beside an elderly priest and not knowing his background, he was amazed that such an elderly priest had such a gentle way with my nephew’s little son. He passed on a remark to this priest, “You have a great way with children.” He said, “Well, I’m a grandfather (laughing).” Grandfathers can be called to priesthood, and those who are younger obviously are called as well. So, please pray for vocations in a very personal way, and remember no vocations today, no priests tomorrow. I would like to end with a very short prayer.

Heavenly Father, through the ministry of your priests, may we all be melded, fashioned into the image of Jesus, Your Son. Amen.

41 thoughts on “A Priest is Not a Priest for Himself, He is a Priest for You”

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  1. Roseanne Sheridan

    I keep being in awe at this sign. It continues to confirm so much of what has been shown me. A woman had a vision years ago, of me as a little girl, dancing in a field of flowers. She knew something happened to me when I was four. The priest praying for me at the same time said, “you are God’s little princess. Forgive them Lord, they know not what they do. Our lady will help you.” She was and she did and she is. Especially when lies have been tried to be substituted for the truth. At a Dove Women’s Conference, the lies were lifted and God’s vindication pronounced. At that conference, we saw two rainbows on the way. When we arrived, the Dove banner had been changed to include, a Rainbow! The lies had to do with my stand against abortion in a project for God, that involved the rainbow symbol. After Pentecost Mass, I had a vision of Our Lady crying, she said of how I had suffered for Jesus. We are having a Dove prayer day on Saturday 16th June, I will tell them of Our lady’s sign for July

  2. Roseanne Marie Therese Sherida

    In showing a Croatian man here in N.Z. about Our Lady in his land of ancestry, I came upon this beautiful sight.I am in awe of God! God sent His Mother to help me on a healing journey from abuse in my earliest years. He showed me being in the Light with beautiful colours. The Rainbow, symbol of Baptism, of His Spirit, of being in His Presence. I tell little children – In the beginning, God spoke His Word of Love, Jesus, and there was Light. Inside The Light are all the beautiful colours of His Love. Look around you, what do you see? Beautiful colours! In all Creation, in all people.I ask them, so where are we? The answer? Inside the Light, inside the beautiful colours, inside God’s Love. I tell them of the rainbow in their hearts, God’s Love shining.I stand for everyone belonging in The Light of God’s Love, in His Life – from the unborn to the elderly.His Sign of Hope, His Promise to all – The Rainbow -7 letters, 7 colours.Fatima Our Lady the sun the rainbow Light <3


    Greetings to the Community and the Caritas family. I thank you for all the messages you sent to keep us informed. You do a good job. How I wish I could be there when Our Blessed Mother appears but she knows that it is hard for me. I gazed at the beautiful rainbow with tears of joy, it is so inspirational. May our Blessed Mother bless our nation, my family and most of all Fr. Patrick Mubiru who inspired me to know about the apparitions and messages given by Our Blessed Mother. I pray for all those who will make it in July. Mother Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us, Amen.

  4. Mariastella Debattista

    Dear and loving friends,I will be joining you in spirit and prayers as I live in Malta,I will be praying for conversions as Our Mother Mary has been asking all these years.United in love and prayers.Yours in Christ Mariastella.xxx

  5. Thanks! Mother, and my friends, it is a serene lovely sign from Heaven! Oh our Father in Heaven loves us sinners so much. As Christians, how happy we are, such a confidence. My Lord! my Mother! please give non-believers also the happiness we receive by giving them the Wisdom to understand God’s Love.

  6. A question for a Friend of Medjugorje: Would it be better to use one’s funds to pay off debt or to attend the July 1-5 Prayer Retreat with Marija. Could you please advise? We are a family of 7.

  7. Judy & Bill Youngblood

    I am living in a state of expectancy of something to be life-changing for us personally and for the conversion of our nation. I am praying the Patriotic Rosary and he is doing the 54 day novena. This is a new form of prayer for us but we are trying it for the first time. this will be our 2nd year to come and we thank you for all you do and for keeping us well informed. We pray for all of you and for all those who will be coming especially for Marija! Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

  8. Adeliza Olkeriil

    As I was looking at the picture, the clouds seem to move and I saw the Blessed Mother. I love the Blessed Mother. She has brought me closer to her son, Jesus. Thank you for this beautiful picture. I’m in tears – tears of joy.

  9. I cannot wait to say that I noticed this all the way over in Australia a few days ago. Did anyone else? All day the light around seemed illuminated as never before as if glowing inside or outside of the house. I have been listening to radioWAVE and reading information on travelling to Medjugorje on the weekend with curiosity.maree

  10. This word came to me. The Ark was preceded with the sign of the bow, the covenant of God. Our Lady is the Ark of the New Covenant. We’re praying here!

  11. This beautiful picture means so very much to me. I’ve been doing the 54 day Rosary Novena from the booklet you sent me, and the Divine Mercy chaplet for some pretty serious intentions, that really need miracles. Since rainbows have a very special meaning to me (like a special signal between Jesus and me) I almost burst out in tears of happiness when I saw this wonderful picture and listened to the song. I’m on a computer in a public place and had to take deep breaths not to start wailing for joy in public. What would people think? Thank you.

  12. I was there in 2008 and wish it were possible for me to return this year and take my husband, but finances won’t allow it. If you are thinking about going, stop thinking and make your reservations now.

  13. Thank you for this! I had just experienced an issue with my husband that requires forgiveness and turned this on when I returned from Mass. Now I am more convinced than ever that I need to come in July; I so desire it, but I need to keep praying for God’s will. I will continue to pray and spread the event message, and share this. God bless you all as you prepare for such an event!

  14. This morning when I woke up I went to my front porch to pray. The birds were singing. The sun was shining; it is a beautiful morning. I began praising God for the great things He is and does and all the beauty of creation and my mind felt filled with light. Then I read our lady’s message for today and I know that it was her loving heart that inspired me to pray that way.

  15. paddy and monica roe

    Greetings To your Community ,we send your kind wishes from the East Coast of Ireland,we will be with you in Spirit .We have started to pray the 54 day.Novena with both our countries included as we ,up to now have had the Blessing of being free from the scourge of abortion.We pray to Mother Mary to continue to protect us from this abomination as people are meeting in our Parliament to see whether they will introduce it to our Country.we ask for your prayerful support Kind Wishes Monica and Paddy

  16. Teresa Nevells

    Even after taking sleep meds, Our Lady woke me up at 3am, I’d check my email and see the link to this inspiring article.

  17. Stephen Katende

    Thank you Caritas for the good job you do for the World. The first time i read the messages, i did fast because everything was touching my life and family. It would be great for me to be present for Apparition. Our Lady knows that it is quite hard for me now due to some difficulties. I pray for those who will manage to continue sending the messages to all

  18. Mr. Mrs. Gloria & Manuel Lopez

    I wish I could be their when Our Blessed Mother appears. I just give thanks and praise that, we can at least look at the photo you have sent me to gaze on, it is so inspirational and beautiful. I just pray Our Blessed Mother will hear our prayers no matter where we are at, and send us a Blessing from where she will appear for my whole family. Thank You, for the photo, it is so inspirational. Lopez Family.

  19. My husband and I were there in 2011 and it was a beautiful experience with Our Lady and we witnessed the miracle of the sun! He will miss 4 days of work with no pay but that is not stopping us! We look forward to being in the presence of Our Lady at Caritas July 1-5, 2012. 🙂

  20. We thank You to keep us includet in Caritas we don’t know if we are able to be with you . We keep hoping. We are not doing very good in fasting and making sacrfices. We wil try harder. God bless you all Karl& MaryAnn

  21. We thank You to keep us includet in Caritas we don’t know if we are able to be with you . We keep hoping. We are not doing very good in fasting and making sacrfices. We wil try harder. God bless you all Karl& MaryAnn

  22. Thank you very much for this beautiful scenery, a sign from heaven. I showed to my son and told him that this is where HEAVEN and earth meet. The song is one of my favorite. When I need peace I play this song from your website. This a perfect rainbow, a very huge one. The Ark, Our Lady, is coming again to grace this special place. I can also see the Eucharist, in the picture. To the right half of the arch, it’s like a gateway to heaven, where one walks on the cloud before entering the “pearly gate”. Yesterday we received the 2 big boxes of brochures. My husband and I drove to different suburbs and place them by the back of Adoration chapels, churches, gasoline stations, doctors office. We feel the sense of urgency that it should be out soonest. One more box to go tomorrow. Thank you for your serving hearts. We are grateful to God for all the graces He has given us through your prayers, for your unselfishly giving your life so we may live life eternally. In the love of Mama Mary.

  23. Our Lady and you Caritas just made our jouneying to see you in July sweeeeeeter….like frosting on the cake….and we’re fasting on bread and water! How SWEET is Our Lady!You’re all in our prayers.Sherry and Mike

  24. Can’t thank you enough for the picture and song. It is one of my favorite songs and I often sang it to my children as they fell asleep. I received the same sign last summer. I had just experienced a terrible disapointment from what I had hoped was an answer to prayer, I looked up and saw a full rainbow in deep colors . Other people around me saw it too and were amazed, as it hadn’t even rained, but I knew that it was God’s show of support for all that I was going through. I am praying the 54 day Rosary Novena and fasting for Our Lady’s intentions and the Caritas community. I can’t wait to come down and pray with you all again in the presence of Our Lady who brings such joyous hope into our lives.

  25. thank you for this beautiful and peaceful scenery and ask our Blessed Mother to give the merciful Heart of Jesus who will be present on those days and also for the healing of the nations specially USA

  26. The picture, the music, knowing Our Lady is coming – you guys sure know how to melt hearts and bring tears of joy!!

  27. As I gazed upon the picture listening to that wonderful song, the rainbow seemed to change..it became a dome. It was a picture of a glass dome over a sacred place. I couldn’t stop looking at it, blinking my eyes. What wondrous miracles of conversion and reconciliation will take place in July. The Mother will lead us. We are preparing for it. Thank you for sharing that loving sign.

  28. There was a double rainbow in the sky to the southeast in my town in the early evening of 5/7/2012. And the sky was very dark with rain clouds, yet the rainbow was brilliant amidst the dark sky which I have never seen before. Thank you for sharing this picture – we get so caught up in the day to day struggles of life we forget the beauty and majesty of God’s creation – His gift to us and how He speaks to us. The rainbow, the sign of His covenant with mankind and renewing of the earth.

  29. James Cardinal

    I wish i could be there but can’t because we are in the North and we are poor for money to attend but i know that the blessed mother ash each one of us to ask her for help to guide us to her son Jesus and this is what i do i pray the rosary every day i ask her to keep the devil away from me and my family i will pray for you to help other people that our mother is willing to help them Thak you in JMJ James

  30. As I meditated upon the photograph of the rainbow over the Field of Apparitions I was brought to tears knowing that I will be unable to go to Caritas to be with our Blessed Mother and your beautiful family this year. I know She is always with me no matter where I am, but I will miss being in Caritas because it is such a spiritual, uplifting experience with so many people who truly believe.

  31. There is no way that I can attend, but I know she will understand and be with me also. I am trying to fast, it is very difficult and I’m not doing too good, but I and my daughter are praying the Patriotic rosary. I thought it was difficult at first, but it seems to just flow now. I do look forward to all your messages and it seems like it is just for me. Makes me feel great. I can say for sure that since I have increased my prayer life, I am at peace with myself.

  32. Shelly Stafford

    These messages you send always come at a time during my busy day when I seem to need them the most. I am praying that I will be able to attend when our Lady visits in July. There is so much prayer needed, these messages inspire me to resolve to pray more.

  33. R obert E. Jumonville

    This is very good, and makes me wish all the more that I could become a Priest, though it is unlikely at this time, and I am already 73. I wish all the Priest could read this to parishners at Mass.

  34. A core group member

    This is great, I’m going to use this personally and send it out to my parish friends. Thank you for putting this on mej.com. Some may not think it important, but I believe ANY food is important, even if its just a little snack for the soul! :O) Praying for priests AND for mej.com.

  35. A core group member

    This is great, I’m going to use this personally and send it out to my parish friends. Thank you for putting this on mej.com. Some may not think it important, but I believe ANY food is important, even if its just a little snack for the soul! :O) Praying for priests AND for mej.com.

  36. Very Well said. We need to pray for all priests, they help us to save our own souls as long as we ask. They are truly a blessing to us.

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