Good morning and I hope you are all well!

As it’s the first Friday of this lenten period I thought that it’d be a good day to write about praying for priests like Our Lady asks time and time again!

The first attitude we must have when praying for priests is love and humility!

If they were already perfect then they wouldn’t need our prayers in the first place so we must be aware of that!

The second attitude is mercy and forgiveness!

Which one of us hasn’t been hurt or let down by a priest at one stage or the other for what he said or did or forgot?

I for one could write a best-seller!!

And the third attitude is justice. The priest has a tall calling that influences many people and we must do our best to love and encourage him to better (as he does also with us) and help him to heal hurting communities!

With these 3 attitudes of love, mercy and justice we may begin!

If you find yourself or others saying

“Father should do this and Father should do that” without acknowledging the good things that Father is doing and perhaps his weaknesses then your prayers will not be heard!

You are judging!

We all have ideas of what Father should be doing but we are not God and even if Father is not doing certain things, who are we to judge?

Now of course we can discern and say “in my opinion….”

If you find yourself forgetting that every priest is a man and when you see his faults you forget that he too may have had a difficult childhood, a bad relationship with his father, a deceased mother then once again you’ve fallen into the trap of judging!

“But he’s a priest” some say to justify their pious accusations!

But so what! A priest is just an ordinary human being too and often his training wasn’t the best and the pressures of ministry were enormous! Give him a break!

(In case you are wondering, KitKat is not sponsoring my blog)!

And then of course there is the other attitude which disturbs me even more! Priest-worshipping!!

One sees them hovering all over priests almost lusting over their every need!

“Would you like more tea father?”

“Yes Father, no father, 3 bags full father, how high father?”!

There is nothing humble about this type of attitude as it’s totally fake and attention seeking!

The humble priest expects us to respect him, not to worship him! You can use your own brain too! It’s not a sin!

And this attitude when pushed too far seeks to cover up all the mistakes of priests in an effort to protect them!

We have seen this in Ireland where years of cover-up cases of abuse have come to the fore and all but destroyed the church.

So what then?

Well when and if a priest makes a mistake we must encourage him too with humility and mercy to be honest about it, come clean and do what he can to make it up.

We do the church or priests no favours by covering up their sins and it is probably the biggest blockage to evangelisation because if people don’t see honesty and transparency in the church then they will run a mile!

And so today dear friends let us pray for our priests and our pope who are very ordinary human beings called to serve God in very difficult times both in the church and in the world.

Let us pray for their perseverance and their humility and that they may be renewed in their love for Jesus and healed of wounds inflicted on them through gossip, over-expectations and burnout!

(Tomb of the Cure of Ars, patron saint of parish priests).

May we also pray for ourselves and for the healing of our hearts where we may have been wounded by priests!

God bless all priests today and thank you Jesus for the priesthood and for every man who said ‘yes’ to this call!

Michael