One of the great messages that we have gained over the past three months, is the importance of the Mass and the Eucharist which is the most integral part of our faith. Through the ‘earthly’ curse of the pandemic, the devil has denied us the communal celebration of the liturgy and the sharing of the Eucharist, but from this, we must recognize how we need to come together as community regularly, to hear the Word of God and to partake in the sharing of his Body and Blood in the Eucharist. This blessing has been taken away from us for earthly concerns, but as we can come together once again I pray that we will experience a deep hunger: a deep thirst to receive the Body and Blood of Christ once again.
The laity has felt the loss of the sharing of the Eucharist, but I want to let everyone know of the emptiness that has also been felt by the priesthood during this time. Of course, Priests are nourished by the Eucharist, just as the laity are, but Priests are also nourished by service to the parish community, and by the presence of the community around them. In effect, the Priests are dependent on the presence of God in the Eucharist and the presence of the community with them. You may not be aware of the important role you play, in the strengthening of the Church by your simple attendance at Mass, but please know how important your attendance at Mass is, for the well-being of your Priests.
And concerning the Eucharist, I want to bring focus on the Church’s need for vocations to the priesthood. In 2004 Saint Pope John Paul II stated, “There can be no Eucharist without the priesthood, just as there can be no priesthood without the Eucharist.” On to this I humbly add, that there can be no Priesthood without the community to serve. Next week it will be three years since my Ordination to the Priesthood, a short time, but wonderful time, and I must say that, without the support of my Parish communities, this time would have been more difficult. Support your Priests. Show them that you care and are prepared to assist them, and from such support, new vocations may grow. The Church is filled with good men and women who desire the opportunity to serve, and if they see that they will be supported in the future, they may be more open to discerning the religious life today.
Fr. Edward Gibney
Associate State Chaplain