Lidia Dudkiewicz, The Editor-in-Chief of ‘Niedziela’
A priest in a cassock, with the cross on his arm, in solitude or with another priest is going from a parish to parish along village roads, streets of small and big cities, along motorways on which trucks go quickly. He is going with a rosary, in the heat or rain. This is a prayer of hearts and priest’s feet in the intention of vocations. Recently one could meet men in cassocks, carrying the cross in various places of the archdiocese of Częstochowa. They raise astonishment, sometimes embarrassment. Some pedestrians may ask themselves a question: What has happened to this man with the cross? But priests do not pay attention to it. After all, they decided to take responsibility for the issue of new vocations and let God use them here. They make pilgrimages drinking and eating only water and bread, in order to beg intentions – somehow – when making a pilgrimage effort for new priests. They want to reach to young people in order to help them hear the voice of Jesus: ‘I am just looking for you’. – God’s issues are settled in a God’s way – one of the priests carrying the cross told a reporter of the ‘Sunday’. Hence this march of priests and the prayer action for new priests.
When in the street of my city I saw a priest with the cross on his arm, an anecdote came cross my mind about Fr. Jan Maria Vianney going to Ars. He had a problem with finding a road to a village where he had began his priestly ministry. So, he asked a boy grazing sheep to show him a way.
When he found out where to go, he said to the shepherd: ‘Dear boy, you showed me the way to Ars, I will show you the way to Heaven’. One cannot express the essence of the priestly ministry better. Priests are supposed to lead us to Heaven. ‘The man was created for Heaven, satan broke down the ladder which had led there’ – these are the words of the saint priest from Ars. Here we can say that priests are setting up this ladder to Heaven anew. Being called for their ministry to God, they are receiving priestly ordinations, their hands and mouths become hands and moths of God. Through their hands God comes to the man in Eucharist. ‘If we knew the value of at least one Holy Mass, we would die from happiness’ – it was how St. Fr. Jan Maria Vianney felt. As stewards of sacraments, priests are mediators between Heaven and the earth. So, we cannot be short of them. Hence, we need spiritual mobilization, and even going out into streets in order to reach to those whom God calls by name to serve in the Church.
The pilgrimage of priests from Częstochowa in the intention of vocations takes place in care not only about the local Church but also about the Church in whole Europe, for which the bell of fear tolls. In front of our eyes, even in Italy, some churches are being closed down or changed into places of different purposes. Therefore an international conference was planned there, with the shocking title: ‘Doesn’t God live here any longer?’. Worrying information is still coming from Ireland, which has been considered as a model Catholic country recently. This is just the country where the penultimate seminary is going to be closed down, which has functioned for 185 years. In relation to the increasing lack of priests, let’s join priests’ calling hearts and feet with our personal prayer in the intention of new vocations. Each of us can uphold the arms of priests carrying the cross with the intention for new vocations. So, let’s pray so that we will not lack stewards celebrating Eucharist on the altars of the world.
Translated by Aneta Amrozik
Niedziela 30/2018 (29 VII 2018)