Tag Archives: priest

Evangelization springs from authentic faith of our fathers

Pope St. John Paul II provided Holy Mother Church with a great corpus that inspired, reaffirmed and evangelized Catholics in an era when everything seemed up for revision. Since then, the Church has moved forward with the New Evangelization, which isn’t so different from the first. Essentially, the Church must do what she does best — preach the gospel to all nations until the end of time using all the great resources she has at her disposal.

A well-known Catholic blogger often states, “Save the Liturgy — Save the World.” Indeed, ne’er a truer word be spoken. In liturgical celebrations where the focus is taken away from God, where we applaud each other and tell each other how great we are, something demonic is taking place. Authentic worship is distorted into something else, something banal and uninspiring.

Inevitably, people simply stop coming to Mass when they are no longer entertained or don’t feel the need for validation. Any deformation of the liturgy deforms the content of faith.

When the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is done well-meaning that Father and his servers allow their personalities to fade into the background and each carries out his responsibilities well — the Mass draws people into the mystery of our salvation. Beautiful ceremonies lift man to higher things, impelling him to be more than he is. Heavenly mysteries, truly unable to be fully understood, never fail to fascinate the believer and gently draw the unbeliever to Christ’s Church.

Once drawn into the heart of the Church, the process of unpacking what the Church prays generates a conversion of living in earnest. While she has many well-established methodologies of doing this through her schools, CCD programs, RCIA programs, adult faith formation, and so on, the unfortunate reality is that most Catholics go through life with a sixth-grade education in the Faith. The majority tend to drop out after receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. Statistically, barely 20 percent attend Holy Mass every Sunday and on holy days.

So where do most Catholics learn what they believe about God and the sacraments? Seemingly, significant numbers learn what they think they know through the mainstream media, which does a woefully poor job of explaining Church teaching, usually reporting doctrine incorrectly and almost always without the nuances that are important for understanding them.

True evangelization begins and is nourished within the family. Without the father, it is unlikely that a family will practice the Faith. As head of the household, the father sets the priorities of the household. Even if the father does not impede his wife, the heart of the household, in her own expression of the Faith, his children will take note that their father does not bow his head to God. For children, there is no more powerful witness than to see their father humbly kneel in the confessional or pray before St. Joseph.

In his catechesis on the Creed, Pope St. John Paul II stated that “Jesus is the only model of filial life directed toward, and united with, the Father.” Fathers model this for their children. It is through the silent example of their father and the loving encouragement of their mother that children learn the Faith and receive their understanding of who God is.

The Church needs to continue to turn her creativity to supporting Catholic families, and thereby to creating more deeply committed Catholics. She will keep them by offering a beautiful and worthy celebration of the divine mysteries. Ultimately, it is not a matter of programs; rather, it is the Church simply being faithful to who she is, and to him who is her head and bridegroom.

FATHER HAROLD McKALE, a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, is parochial vicar to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Doylestown, PA, and works with the Philadelphia Latin Mass community. He holds a B.S. in business from Millersville University, and M.Div. and M.A. degrees from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia.

Studying church history led him on the road home

DENVER’S FATHER DOUG GRANDON WENT FROM EPISCOPAL CLERGYMAN TO LAY LEGATE TO PRIEST-CHAPLAIN

Father Doug Grandon is among the few who have been both a lay Legate and a Legatus chaplain.

“The amazing vision Tom Monaghan had was that those serving at the higher echelons of business deserve to be evangelized because they can influence so many people in a positive way for the kingdom,” Fr. Grandon said in a recent interview with Legatus magazine.

Father Grandon, 61, associate chaplain of Legatus’ Denver Chapter, his wife, Lynn, and four of their six children entered the Catholic Church in 2003 after he spent five years as an Episcopal priest. He joined Legatus as a layman in 2005. Three years later, he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Peoria, IL, under the pastoral provision created by St. Pope John Paul II for former Protestant clergymen.

Today, Fr. Grandon is national chaplain for the Colorado-based Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS). 

How was your religious upbringing?

I was a pure pagan. My family didn’t go to church. I heard the gospel at 13 and became a Christian at 14. I spent most of my life as an evangelical Protestant. I was a missionary in Communist Yugoslavia for five years, and then a church-planting pastor. I began reading more in church history, and I realized that my evangelical Protestantism was weak historically and liturgically.

What happened as you learned more about church history?

My wife and I became Episcopalian for eight years. The church sent me to England for my formation, and I served as an Episcopal clergyman for five years. My Episcopal diocese was evangelical, but also very “small-c” catholic. That’s where I learned about apostolic succession, the Real Presence in the Eucharist, and the intercession of the saints. It eventually became very clear that we almost certainly couldn’t have apostolic succession, we didn’t have valid sacraments, and therefore I wasn’t a “Catholic” priest as I was told I was. I told my bishop that I had concerns about my ability to celebrate a valid Mass. He said, “If you have concerns, you should become a Roman Catholic.” So I did.

Describe your recent experience as a Legatus chaplain.

I love our Chapter members and have a very special relationship with them. I did a mission to Romania with some FOCUS university students in March. When I returned, everybody who came from Europe was asked to self-quarantine [for COVID-19]. I quarantined in my basement, where I celebrated a daily Mass on my dresser. God put it on my heart to contact our Legatus families. We have 75 or more families in our very large Chapter. I called every family. I found that they needed to talk to somebody. Some of them wanted to talk for a half hour. Sometimes they would cry. One Legatus wife had the virus, and I was privileged to go anoint her. Any Legatus chaplain would love his people like that.

What’s something that people are surprised to learn about you?

I have a collection of about 100 Soviet antiChristian propaganda posters dating from 1917 to the 1980s. When I was Episcopalian, I taught four winters in Moscow. My first winter there, I began discovering these posters in flea markets and antique shops. I began buying them. They were fairly inexpensive. Every now and then someone asks me to do an exhibit and give lectures on religious freedom today and Soviet Communism’s attacks on the Christian Church.

What books are you reading?

A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles, a great fictional read. I also immensely enjoyed J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy. If you can endure the profanity, it’s profoundly wonderful and significant.

The Priests We Need to Save the Church

Kevin Wells
Sophia Institute Press, 229 pages

 

To say that the Catholic Church and her priesthood are in crisis is a vast understatement. Some priests and bishops have failed us miserably, Kevin Wells is quick to point out, and others just go through the motions. Yet a renewal of the priesthood is precisely what will renew the Church as a whole, he proposes. Through engrossing discussions of exemplary priests he has known or interviewed, Wells proposes that priests who give themselves over to what they are meant to exemplify — virtues like holiness, self-sacrifice, availability, and spiritual fatherhood — will help transform our clergy and lay faithful more closely into the Church that Christ wills us to become.

 

Order: Amazon

Priests who teach Truth do us a favor

Sin is the cause of endless misery today – and yet, most suffering from despondency never attribute it to immorality. Why would they? Most don’t practice faith in Christ, and of those who do, many no longer hear straight talk about sin. Catholic clarity is hard to come by now, and “right” and “wrong” seem relative. But when you hear a good shepherd who’s fearless in imparting Catholic teaching – even facets which cause squirming and discomfort – you don’t forget him. And you don’t soon forget his message.

Christine Valentine-Owsik

All around us people are harried, confused, and rattled … by viruses, scandals, elections, traffic, jobs, weather, stocks, you name it. There’s no shortage of legitimate ‘concerns’ apart from God’s. People have vacations to plan, budgets to review, wardrobes to update, social calendars to coordinate. Incessant angst, impatience, and competitiveness are part of the grind … yet the utter purpose of life gets totally forgotten.

But here’s a simple truth: when we love and worship God properly first, His laws and teachings come naturally – and in turn, He keeps us under His protection. We’re happier. But if we rebuff Him, we slide down the cool slope of sin, degree by degree – rationalizing it, seeing it as necessary, losing our horror of it. Before we know it, we’re okay with just about anything the world serves up – and we think we’re content – but we’re fighting an inner anxiety we can’t escape.

I remember that day in my life over 25 years ago. We were new in town, and a local priest invited me to a class he was teaching on the popes through history, and their key writings. His engaging homilies had gotten my attention in church, so I thought he’d be an interesting teacher. I was about to get the lesson of my life.

I was late to the first evening’s class, working for a large pharmaceutical client and finishing a project that afternoon. I hurried in still in my suit, and looked around seeing mothers feeding their babies, and a few veiled women holding rosaries. I wondered if I was in the wrong place. The priest motioned me to a seat in front of him. They were finishing up opening prayers – which I didn’t recognize.

Then the night’s papal-encyclical handout came around, called Humanae Vitae by Pope Paul VI. Huh, never heard of it.

Well, no matter. I was soon frozen by Father’s elucidations – on related sins, purpose of marriage, rearing children, birth control, bioethical issues, lots of stunning stuff. My eyeballs veered left and right, to see if others were as shocked. Everyone seemed fine except me. This was Catholic teaching? Since when? I was sweating, angry, and anxious for the coffee break so I could leave.

Running into our house, I grabbed the dusty Catechism and looked up the citations. It was all there. I’d never heard it.

But I had no excuse anymore. That weekend, I made the hardest Confession of my life, and it reset my course forever.

CHRISTINE VALENTINE-OWSIK is Legatus magazine’s editor.

For new Miami chaplain, it was an easy transition

“Business leaders need to have something in their life that reminds them to be faithful to the Lord.”

Father Richard Vigoa, 49, a priest of the Archdiocese of Miami, is the chaplain of Legatus’ Miami Chapter, set to charter this month.

Father Vigoa, parish administrator of St. Augustine Church and Catholic Student Center in Coral Gables, Fla., was ordained in 2008. For nine years, he served as the priest-secretary for Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami. In a recent interview with Legatus magazine, he described himself as a “workaholic” who probably doesn’t take as much time off as he should.

How old were you when you first thought of becoming a priest?

It was my pastor who first said something to me when I was age nine: “I think you should be a priest.” At the time, I told him, “No way, Father. I don’t want to be a priest. No offense.” But that kind of stuck in my mind. What did he see in me that he saw the potential of the priesthood?

When did you start discerning the priesthood?

It wasn’t until college. I was dating a young girl. I was even thinking about marriage. That didn’t work out, but I was very involved in my parish. Again, the pastor of that church told me, “You know, you have a vocation to the priesthood. Have you ever thought about being a priest?” I called the archdiocese and asked them if there was a day when I could visit the seminary. They told me to come by that weekend. So I made a pledge to the Lord: “I’ll give you one year. If I’m not happy after one year, then I’m outta here.” And I can honestly say, from Day 1, it felt like I was home. It was right for me, and it was where I was supposed to be. As they say, the rest is history.

How did you get acquainted with Legatus?

I was the priest-secretary for the archbishop of Miami for almost nine years. I was in my office one day this past September, and I received a letter from him saying, “I have appointed you to be the chaplain of Legatus.” We had talked about Legatus a lot. And, being his secretary, I was kind of aware of what was happening with Legatus in Miami.

What have been your initial impressions of Legatus?

I was already aware of some of the bigger donors here in the archdiocese. So for me it was easy to go into the role because I knew a lot of those people already. Also, a lot of my parishioners were either in the chapter or were interested in joining, so it’s very easy to slide into the role of chaplain.

What value do you see an organization like Legatus having for the Church?

Leaders, specifically business leaders, need to have something in their life that reminds them to be faithful to the Lord, to stay committed to holiness, and to continue to encourage, motivate, and engage others to know Christ better. If we can get the leaders in our community to be strong in their faith, that’s only going to make society better. It’s going to change culture, and it’s going to help the businesses they run to be effective and for the kingdom of God.

Who are your spiritual heroes?

Right now I’m writing a book on Bishop Fulton Sheen, on how he was the precursor to the New Evangelization. Pope St. John Paul II called him an apostle of the New Evangelization. There is no one who did it better in the 1950s than Fulton Sheen.

North Georgia chaplain had stunning call to religious life

“HAD NEVER THOUGHT OF MYSELF AS A PRIEST … WANTED TO HAVE A FAMILY”

Father Lino Otero, 52, a priest of the Legionaries of Christ, is the new chaplain of Legatus’ North Georgia Chapter, which chartered in late November.

Father Otero, a native of Nicaragua, was 14 when his family immigrated to Miami. A few years later, an intense religious experience led him to discern a priestly vocation. That path would ultimately lead him to join the Legionaries of Christ in 1990, and ordination in 2001.

In an interview with Legatus magazine, Father Otero shared his vocation story, his impressions of Legatus, and the reforms that the Legionaries of Christ has undergone in the years since revelations came to light that the congregation’s late founder, Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, led a double life and sexually abused boys and young men.

How did you become a Legatus chaplain?

It was mostly because of the recommendations from some of the founding members of the chapter. They invited me, and I started coming to meetings, and they came to like me. That’s pretty much how it happened.

What have been your impressions of Legatus?

I’ve been very impressed by the maturity of the members. These are people who take their faith very seriously. They’re very intent in raising their families in the Catholic faith. They’re people who are very concerned about the deChristianization of society, and they have the desire to do something about it.

When did you discern you had a vocation to the priesthood?

I never thought of myself as a priest growing up. On the contrary, becoming a priest was the last thing I thought I would do. I was very much opposed to the idea because I wanted to have a family of my own. When I was 17, I was invited, providentially, to attend a retreat at a Trappist monastery outside of Atlanta. It was on the third day of the retreat that I had the most enlightening experience in my entire life. It was a split second of an immense shower, an inundation of God’s love, that felt like a little piece of Heaven in my soul. After that, I could not imagine doing anything in my life but to dedicate my life to God.

How did you end up joining the Legionaries of Christ?

It was during my time in the diocesan seminary that I realized the experience that I had felt in that monastery corresponded more to the calling of a religious life with vows. So the question was, if God was calling to me religious life and not the diocesan priesthood, then where? I was discerning with a very holy diocesan priest who had been a teacher of mine at the seminary. Among the options that I presented to him, he recommended the Legionaries of Christ.

Do you feel you made the right decision?

Right from the very beginning. I felt everything that I received in my formation was a blessing. And like many of my companions, we suffered the shock of the revelations of our founder. But eventually, even that we grew to see as a blessing since it has given us the opportunity to be more humble, and to appreciate things much more. In my own life, I’ve been able to detach myself from viewpoints and perspectives that were too narrow. I participated in the renewal and reform of the congregation, which entailed a reconfiguration of the inner culture of how we live our lives, our spirituality, and our mission.

How would you describe the health of the Legionaries today?

I would say it’s better than ever. Because even though, in the old days, many young men entered and persevered because of the high ideals that the founder presented, eventually, as one grew older, a stifling air could be perceived in many. So now, all of that is gone. I think our perseverance rate is much higher because the priests feel that there is greater degree of possibility of self-expression, of more mature friendships and relationships, and a more balanced way of life.

Retired Air Force chaplain embraces new Fort Lauderdale Chapter

MONSIGNOR JAMES DIXON SOON MARKS 50 YEARS AS PRIEST

Monsignor James Dixon may be a retired priest, but he will soon have a new role as the chaplain for Legatus’ Fort Lauderdale Chapter, which will charter officially in early 2020.

Monsignor Dixon is also a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel who served 23 years in the military. His final military assignment was at the Pentagon, where he served as chief of plans and programs for the Air Force chaplaincy service.

At 77 years old, Monsignor Dixon still walks five miles a day and he will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of his ordination in May 2020. He recently spoke with Legatus magazine.

How is the Fort Lauderdale Chapter coming along?

I think the Chapter is doing very well. We recently had a very good function and we’re getting close to the numbers that we need [for chartering]. Everyone is doing a great job, so I think we’re nearing the goal.

How did you get acquainted with Legatus?

I was at dinner a few months ago with a very good friend of mine who’s been associated with Legatus for a long time. He told me, “I’d like you to do me a favor.” I said, “Sure,” so he then said, “I’d like you to be the chaplain of Legatus.” I didn’t even know what Legatus was, but I had said ‘yes’ to him so I accepted the invitation. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but happily I got into something very worthwhile.

What have been your early impressions of Legatus?

I’ve been impressed with the kinds of people who are coming to the meetings and accepting the invitation. I’ve been getting to know them and I find them to be very sincere Catholic adults who want to do the right thing, who want to live and express their faith. They’re just good solid Catholic people.

How did you discern your vocation?

I don’t have a spectacular vocation story. I didn’t have to break up with a girlfriend. I wasn’t engaged, or on track to be a world-renowned scientist, doctor, or lawyer. I was just an ordinary person.

In my senior year of college, I started thinking about the priesthood. I went and talked to a priest, who said, “I have no idea whether you should go to seminary or not. But if you don’t, ten years from now when you’re married and have a couple of kids, you’ll always think back and ask yourself, ‘I wonder what it would have been like if I had gone to the seminary.’” I thought that was pretty good advice. Sixty years later, I’m still here.

What made you decide to join the Air Force as a chaplain?

For one thing, I really admired the people who were serving. I think the Air Force also appealed to me because very often, the work of an Air Force chaplain is pretty much doing parish work. On our bases, we run parishes pretty much like any diocesan parish. I liked parish work and I wanted to be a parish priest.

What are some differences between being a priest in the military and in civilian life?

One difference is that in the military, these men and women deal regularly with long absences. To move around every few years is a very normal thing for them. To have somebody in the family missing for months at a time, is a very normal thing.

Furthermore, on a more serious note, military people face the reality of death and they talk about death in a way that civilians don’t because they don’t really spend a whole lot of time thinking about death. For military people, this is a reality where even 19- and 20-year-olds will say, “If I don’t come back…” I think the military people hold on to life very carefully. They treasure it because they always have in the back of their minds the possibility of not being there one day. And often, they take their faith very seriously because of that.

New Bismarck chaplain sees how world longs for God

‘RELENTLESS’ CALL TO PRIESTHOOD BECKONED HIM AWAY FROM MEDICINE

Father Thomas Grafsgaard, 33, is the chaplain of Legatus’ Bismarck Chapter, which was just chartered in October. Father Grafsgaard, ordained on June 13, 2013, is pastor of Saint Joseph Church in Beulah and Saint Martin Church in Hazen, North Dakota. He grew up in Bismarck and dreamed of becoming a doctor before he heard the call to the priesthood. He recently spoke with Legatus magazine.

When did you first suspect that you were called to the priesthood?

I’d always wanted to be a doctor, so I went to St. John’s University in Minnesota and got a biology degree. But during my junior year, I couldn’t stop thinking about the priesthood. I didn’t know why. I didn’t want to be a priest. I wanted a wife, a family, kids, and to be a doctor, but that call was relentless.

I studied abroad in Ireland in 2006, and it became pretty clear over there that God was calling me to the seminary. I’d say the call didn’t originate with me — it was definitely a call that God gave to me. I couldn’t imagine not being a priest now.

What is it about the priesthood that most brings you joy?

I certainly enjoy celebrating Mass. In hearing confessions, I am deeply edified and humbled by that. With the ministry of giving Christ’s mercy to people, it’s overwhelming, it’s such a gift that He left to His Church. I also enjoy being with people in every step of life. I could have a baptism followed by a funeral, wedding, or teaching in the classroom. Every day is different, and I love that. I’m learning new stuff every day, as far as what it means to be a priest and what it means to be a pastor.

What are some things you’ve learned in your six years as a priest?

I’ve learned the importance of simple kindness and charity, and also I’ve learned quickly how much the world longs for God. Being out in public, wearing the Roman collar, you see how much people are thirsting for God. To be a public witness to the reality of God and God’s presence in the world, it’s overwhelming and it’s very beautiful.

How did you get acquainted with Legatus?

Bishop David Kagan [of Bismarck] had contacted me, saying that there was going to be a meeting for people interested in an organization called Legatus. I knew nothing about Legatus and had never heard of it. But the bishop asked if I would be open to being the chaplain for our Chapter. From there, it just grew. I’ve come to really enjoy the Legates in Bismarck, and am very grateful to Bishop Kagan for having asked me.

What have been some of your impressions about the Legates?

I am edified by how much they desire to live their faith in the workplace, by being that leaven in society in living the Gospels and upholding Catholic social teaching. The Legates here in Bismarck have a tremendous desire to share, not necessarily by overt evangelization in the workplace, but in very subtle ways, to live the Gospel in a culture that is not always easy to do, especially in the workplace.

Who are your spiritual heroes?

Certainly, John Paul II. I was able to see him when I was a young high school student on a retreat-pilgrimage after my senior year in high school. Also, Pope Benedict XVI for his humility and his tremendous knowledge of history. I wrote my master’s thesis on Pope Benedict and the New Evangelization, so I’ve had a deep admiration for him for a long time.

What kind of spiritual impact did that retreat have on you?

You think the Church is big, but when you’re in North Dakota, you forget how universal the Church is, especially with the languages that are spoken, the cultures that Catholics live in around the world. I think that retreat helped me to understand more fully what it means to be Catholic.

Exemplary priestly celibacy models Godly fatherhood

Venerable Fulton Sheen once wrote that “Sex has become one of the most discussed subjects of modern times. The Victorians pretended it did not exist; the moderns pretend that nothing else exists.”

Our cultural fixation on sex, like other neurotic obsessions, has all the markings of a split personality. On one hand, sex is idolized as the ultimate good, an imperative for everyone, a necessary component of a successful and happy life. On the other hand, sex is trivialized as a recreational pastime, something as casual, fun, and meaningless as a video game.

 Holding this contradiction together has been the overarching aim of the sexual revolution, and with deadly effect. The euphoria over free love that swept through the Western world in the 60s and 70s ushered in new technological and legal demands, including ready access to effective contraception – so that sex could be enjoyed without consequences – and legal abortion, to make problematic embryos go away when contraception fails or isn’t used.

 If we wish to promote a culture of life, then, our remedy must go deeper than the legal protection of human beings who happen to still be in their mother’s womb. Our remedy will also address that split personality, both the idolization and the trivialization of sex. And believe it or not, priestly celibacy has an important role to play in the effort.

A celibate priest is, first of all, a living refutation of the idolization of sex. Do you ever wonder why so many non-Catholics are intensely interested in the question of priestly celibacy? It is not because they lay awake worrying about the sexual well-being of priests. Rather, it is because they know, deep down, that celibacy is an existential threat to the central dogma of the sexual revolution: that unfettered sex is an imperative of any healthy and happy life. When priests live their celibacy well, with joy, peace, and fidelity – as it is in the vast majority of cases – then the notion that sex is a human necessity is simply and emphatically debunked.

 Celibacy also refutes the opposite error of the sexual revolution, the trivialization of sex. In a book that I recently wrote entitled Why Celibacy? Reclaiming the Fatherhood of the Priest (Emmaus Road Publishing), I argue that celibacy is not primarily about being unmarried, but about loving in a radical and life-giving way, with a heart wide open in the exercise of spiritual fatherhood. In fact, celibacy is a living reminder that all men, including natural fathers, are called to spiritual fatherhood since their chief duty is to help their children get to heaven. Fathers are to raise not just children but future saints.

Celibacy, then, is a reminder that sex is anything but trivial. The beauty of human love between a husband and a wife is found in their breathtaking capacity to give life to immortal beings, something completely beyond their ordinary human capacities. Through their love, parents are made co-creators with God. This is why we do not say that human beings reproduce but rather procreate. They usher into the world children destined for heaven, whose souls are nourished, guided, and protected by their own parents and also, in a powerful and unique way, by the ministry of celibate priests, true spiritual fathers in the order of grace.

Protecting life means, fundamentally, protecting the human love that brings life into the world. The sexual revolution has left behind a devastating trail of human wreckage – broken hearts, broken bodies, and broken families. We need to begin the healing, recovering our sanity about sex which is neither an idol nor a plaything but rather a beautiful cooperation in the creative love of God. However paradoxical it might seem, priestly celibacy, well-lived, can help lead the way.

FATHER CARTER GRIFFIN is a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC. Raised Presbyterian, he converted to Catholicism while attending Princeton University. After serving as a line officer in the United States Navy, he entered the seminary and was ordained in 2004. He is the Rector of St. John Paul II Seminary in Washington, DC.

Ways we can support our priests

Recently, Legatus Magazine polled members on what topics they would like to see addressed. One of the topics that surfaced was:

Stephen Henley

How can we, as laity, support our priests to be healthy, happy and holy?

As an imperfect layperson, I will humbly offer recommendations.

Pray: often, specifically. God willing, our prayers will sustain them in their hardest moments, those moments they find themselves in the desert.

Live your vocation as leader: in your business, at home, but spiritually as well. We are all examples to each other and the example we set helps to hold up those around us. Feeling needed in our vocation is something we all desire. Priests seeing that you are going to daily Mass, praying the rosary daily, availing ourselves to go to Confession, will help to edify our priests.

Be a friend: As a married man, I take for granted that I have a wife who is my ‘second opinion.’ When it comes to making decisions in my life, whether that be dealing with a work issue, writing this article, or with my kids, I can count on my wife to bounce ideas off of or to call me on something when needed. For many priests, however, they may not have such a person. They need personal interaction; they need people who are going to cheer them up when they feel down, or provide a dose of reality if needed.

Invite them to dinner: growing up, I can recall having our parish priest to a family dinner at least once a year. As a kid, I always thought it was something special. How many young men and women have been led to a religious vocation as a result of that dinner time with a priest!

In your chapters: you can support your priests in the life of your chapter by hosting a panel of priests. You could even host one of your monthly events at the local seminary. Many chapters create prayer buddies in the chapter that pray solely for local priests and seminarians.

Reach out: write to your priests (bishops and cardinals included), to commend them and thank them when they are doing the right things. Letter-writing is often thought of when things are going wrong, but it is just as effective when things are going well.

While it is easy to paint the clergy with a broad brush after the actions of some, it is the good and holy priests who will and do suffer. It is those priests we have to support, even more so in these times. As Ambassadors for Christ, it is within our vocation to lead the way in building up our clergy.

STEPHEN HENLEY is Legatus’ executive director.