Praying for Priests

St. Michael’s Vicarage
Alnwick

Dear People of Alnwick,

I always look forward to this time of the year: the weeks which lead up to Petertide, one of the traditional times, and probably the most popular, for ordinations. This year it is particularly special of course, as Gerard prepares for his ordination to the priesthood.

Each year at this time the clergy of the diocese receive a list of names of those preparing for ordination as deacons and priests in our own cathedral church and, at about the same time, I receive a list of those who have studied at my old Theological College who are similarly preparing to kneel before their bishops to be ordained in the service of God and his Church.

Even though I know very few of those for whom I have been asked to pray, it is great privilege to simply hold them (and the parishes in which they will work) before God, to ask that he will be with them, bless them and bless those to whom they will minister.

In a way, I feel I am paying back for all the prayers I know other people have offered for me in the past and continue to offer now.

It is important – indeed vital – that we pray regularly for vocations to the ordained ministry and also for all who are already ordained.

Most of the time the vast majority of the clergy simply get on with the day to day task of ministry – although what it involves is now much more complex than was once the case. Most of us love it (and I include myself in that category) and would not wish to be doing anything else. But, just as most of us delight in praying for our parishes, street by street, and for our people – by name wherever possible – so too we need your prayers.

On my prayer desk I have a little book entitled “I am Your Servant – A Priest’s companion and encouragement”. This is what it says on the back cover:

“To be a priest is not easy. It is an undefined role in a world where other work has beginnings and ends, and set boundaries. To be a priest is not only to read the gospel on Sundays, but try and live by it for the other six days. It is to bless the bread and wine for everyone else, and sometimes not taste the consolation oneself…”

To those of you who pray for Gerard and me (and all clergy), many thanks: it brings great strength. If you don’t, perhaps you would like to consider doing so. Gerard and I (and all clergy) would appreciate it greatly.

With every blessing,

Paul.

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