Tuesday of Holy Week: Vocations Beget Vocations (Even Those Different in Kind)

Today the priests of the Archdiocese of Toronto gather with the people at our Cathedral Church in Toronto for the Chrism Mass today.  In the Mass, the oils used throughout the year in confirmation (chrism), anointing the sick and oil of catechumens is made sacred by our archbishop Cardinal Collins.  The priests, many of us who are returning to the church where we were ordained priests renew our priestly promises and commitments.  For me, a priest almost three years now it is a very powerful day of unity with my brother priests and the people who gather with us for this event.  This Mass, my intention will be for many more men to join us at the altar to serve in the priesthood of Jesus Christ and to continue to sustain and nurture the Lord’s Church through the priesthood.  I also reflect upon how important the presence of the laity is at this Mass, because it’s not merely the church of the priests; we are all disciples if in different ways.  Vocations need to support vocations, and we can’t compare or work as silos unto ourselves.  One of the sad realities for us to address is that we don’t work as hard as we should at doing this. We need to work harder.  We need to be more respectful of each other’s purpose expressed through our vocation.  One of the points I try to stress with men discerning priesthood is that the “power and authority” given to priests is not meant to be abused and if anyone has felt made inferior or undervalued by a priest then we haven’t used the gifts and graces God has given us well.  We need to be more aware of how we respond to our vocation, of how we exercise priestly ministry.  Like our Lord Himself, we are meant always and everywhere to be servants of others, and even in the roles of leadership we exercise through our priestly office, we can’t lord this over others or devalue them.  Many of our successive popes; St. John XXIII, Bl. Paul VI, St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and now Pope Francis have placed many women and men, laity in high places and offices in the church because they understand well everyone living their particular and unique vocations has a part to play in supporting and encouraging one another in theirs; those who are married give witness to the priests; priests and consecrated must work in harmony in building up the Church.  In this Holy Week and especially on this day when we renew our priestly commitment with the people whom we are collaborators in the vineyard with; may we all think of the many ways in which we can support and encourage one another in our vocational discernment today and every day.

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