My wife Kerri and I recently received an email from a priest friend, asking us for our prayers.

Here’s what he said in his email (edited only minimally):

“For my part, I have some news that might be difficult for you, but it is what it is. In the fall, I will be formally [requesting] XX basically as a leave of absence.  I will not be jumping to [another diocese], but rather will get a job (that is a bit daunting at age XX) and supporting myself.  The purpose is to discern if I will stay in public ministry [as a priest] or seek to be dispensed. I tell you not to cause you any distress, but because I think that you should know.
And also to ask that you pray for me in all of this. “
 
Wow.
 
Can you join us in these prayers for him, as well?
 
This, of course, really hits home to us at this particular time, because we are preparing for the Sacrament of Matrimony for our eldest two daughters.  We hope that the grace God gives in that sacrament seals their hearts and wills to cooperate in the fulfillment of that vocation for life.
 
Below are the responses Kerri and I sent independently (I was traveling at the time we received his email). I pray that they will prove helpful.  If you would like to add your thoughts, please do so in the comments–and please join us in praying that God speaks to our friend His Own Thoughts clearly and forcefully, as well.
 
Kerri wrote:
 
Dear Father,

 
Ken and I are indeed very sad about your news.  In fact, I was a little shaken by it.  I do not know what has brought you to this point, what kind of suffering could make you consider this kind of action, but I think I should say what is really in my heart, regardless.  
 
I remember discussing marriage with you once, and you spoke about the grace that goes with the sacrament of marriage.  You said that “all the grace we need to live out our vocation is provided with the sacrament.”  I believed it then, and I believe it even more now because I have lived it more fully.  I am sure the same applies for your priestly vocation. I write this because it is exactly the same thing I would say–in fact, what I have said–to a friend who wants to leave his marriage.  My marriage is my path to heaven; I shudder to think about losing that path.
 
My life has suddenly become very short.  Our children are growing fast, Ken and I have both buried our fathers, and our mothers are frail; it will not be long before our children are burying us.  I feel more and more pressed to love people more and to make the most of the short time I have left here with Ken and the kids.  Everything that I thought “I wanted to do” does not seem to matter all that much anymore, although I have disappointments as far as what I thought my life would be.  Those things I thought “I would do with my life” obviously were not what God wanted for me, so I think that God probably saved me from myself.
 
Please know that I am writing this out of love for you and love for Christ.  Life is hard and your vocation has obviously been hard on you or you would not be considering this action. Our Lord has chosen you and has given you such a place of honor even though it is hard to stay in that place.  I cannot imagine the grace you have been given to change bread into His Body and wine into His Blood.  To take broken men and restore them to their paths to heaven in Confession.  To be able to anoint the sick and dying.  Everyday you make a miracle happen in Mass.  Of course you know all of this, but just like I sometimes need someone to remind me of the eternal effect of what I do everyday, you might as well.   I pray you can find the strength to persevere in your priestly vocation.
 
Please forgive my impertinence, and please do not be offended by what I have said here, regardless of how intrusive it may seem.  I hope someone would have the nerve to say the same to me.  We will pray for you and please know that we are always your friends.
 
May God bless you,
Kerri
 
I wrote:
 
Dear Father,

 
We are praying for you and will continue to do so, that God’s Will be done even if it doesn’t seem to be the will of us here on earth.
 
Several thoughts come to mind–perhaps scattered, using imprecise analogies, but perhaps still helpful.  I also hope that the presentation of these thoughts does not come across as irritating or rude or uncharitable; emails tend to have that “edge” to them for some reason. Please know that my intention is support for you in every way.
 
Over the past several years, including just recently, we’ve had Catholic friends who discovered that they weren’t actually married to their wives!  Turns out that they had married outside the church or had other irregularities which meant that they hadn’t actually received the grace of the sacrament: they weren’t actually married at all   Some of them were experiencing real severe difficulties with their marriages, too.  All of us married folks know that only with God’s grace can we actually fulfill our vocation of marriage to our wives and fatherhood to our children, so I can’t imagine how much these couples suffered.
 
But none of these friends hesitated.  None of them took the “opportunity” to try whether some other state in life might be more congenial to them; they all immediately did whatever it took (and for some it took quite awhile to get truly married–and they had to live as if they were NOT married during that time…) so that they could avail themselves (and their families) of the grace God would give them to live out their vocation.
 
In the past, when they had set out upon the vocation of marriage they all had freely decided to get married and had wanted to get married and had asked God to bless that marriage and seal that vocation. They did not waver to do whatever was needed NOW to be done AGAIN to ask God to bless and seal that vocation.  They recognized God’s Will was to continue on the path they had already decided upon–for their own good and for the good of others who had relied upon them, relied upon their word, relied upon their steadfastness, and that God would provide all that they were lacking in their own abilities to live up to their vocation.
 
I won’t belabor the obvious analogy, except to say that the God’s Will was known to these men through the very actions that they had ALREADY honestly, openly, freely taken, and in the role they had lived for years–a role they had chosen with the hope that God was blessing them and others through it.
 
Of course, your ordination was valid, I’m sure, so the issue is not whether God gave you at that time all the grace you would need to be His priest and fulfill the role that He blessed for you. That’s not the point.  It’s that these vocations share some common purposes: Just like in marriage, the role of a Catholic priest is to serve others in a special way–so God provided a sacrament to give mere men the capacity for this special service.  Your soul was indelibly marked–you are a priest forever–and through those Holy Orders you were “consecrated and designated to nourish the people of God, fulfilling in Christ the functions of teaching, sanctifying, and governing.”
 
We husbands and dads do similar functions on a smaller scale and a natural level.  Similar, too, I’m certain, is that fulfilling these functions as a priest can be wearying and burdensome.
 
We husbands and dads wear out our bodies in a family environment with others who are often ungrateful, irritating, too demanding, and suddenly sick, angry, confused…and then they bring other people into our environment (such as fiances) over which we dads have no control.  And we have to support them through working in an environment that is also out of our control much of the time, with people in our jobs and companies who frequently do not have our interests uppermost in mind, to say the least.  God knows all of that, too, yet we simply must persevere for the good of others for whom we have taken a vow to give our lives.  And though we get the blessing, the gift, of living with those whom we have personally chosen to love, it can still, at times, seem lonely and unfulfilling.
 
I remember hearing Venerable Fulton Sheen saying that when a priest says, “This is My Body which will be given up for you”–the priest means it, too, in the way that the priest’s actual physical body will be given up for the rest of the Body of Christ.
 
So you, too, in your vocation, as I will in mine, will wear out your body for people who often don’t recognize the burdens they are placing on you.
 
We all know: during times when the burdens seem heaviest, it always looks like they would be lighter if we were just somewhere else, with different people, with a different location, with a different job, with different burdens. 
 
That’s true in any vocation on this side of heaven: the temptation to believe that the burdens we are carrying cannot be what God really intended for us. Or that we could actually carry even heavier burdens…if only we could choose a different environment in which to heave them.  Perhaps the yoke would be lighter with someone different to share the load, eh?  That’s a common temptation to which many in our culture today succumb.
 
But since your vocation is something much more profound, so the burdens and temptations must be also much more profound and soul-searing.  
 
And I would assume that the temptations playing on your mind and will are also much greater and more powerful and more constant, and the joys can be much more fleeting and the loneliness deeper than I feel in a vocation that has not required Christ Himself to permanently mark my soul as He did yours: joining your soul so closely to His own earthly life that He can speak through your voice and touch through your hands and transform souls through the forgiveness of sins and call down the Holy Spirit upon the altar to perform a miracle and prepare souls for the final journey through death. A priest provides the sacraments to the world because God has made it possible–and necessary!
 
You offered yourself to Him as a priest.  He accepted your offer–and blessed it and changed you forever in an instant so that you had everything you would need to do His Will.  And you set about doing His Will.  What a gift you made to Him, and what a gift He made of you for the rest of us.
 
I also remember listening to a set of Sheen tapes from a retreat he did for priests in which he discussed why priests leave the gift of the priesthood.  It always seems like a good idea, a “better way to serve,” a new way to use one’s particular gifts.
 
But the service God asks of each man whom He has transformed into a priest forever is to be a priest!  We lay people are asked to leave our gifts at the altar — so you can offer them on our behalf.  The priest is given God’s Power to make the gift of the altar.  Christ Himself gave you the gift that enables you to make the gift which is the source and summit of our Faith! To step away from the altar is to step away from that gift, to step away from the gifts the rest of us want to offer to Christ, to step away from Christ Himself. 

Again, know that we care deeply for you and our hearts ache for the difficulties you are surely facing.  This email is sent with our prayers.
 
May God bless you,
 
Ken
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Ken
Ken Davison created Glory Stories, which became a weekly radio series heard globally on the Ave Maria Satellite Radio Network and EWTN's radio network, WEWN. In 2007, he and his wife, Kerri, founded Holy Heroes--and their children stepped in to help shortly thereafter to create the online "Adventures" for Advent, Lent, and Spiritual Adoption.

44 thoughts on “Prayers for a priest friend

  1. While I love the Holy Heroes and their work, this response represents everything I find upsetting about attitudes among certain Catholics these days. This man sent a simple notification to you as friends, and you both sent epic responses full of judgment, however kindly it was couched. Who are we to know a persons struggle, not having walked in their shoes? Who are we to know what is the righteous path for another? Most of us have a hard enough time knowing what God wants for our own lives. Does this man even know you have opened up his private struggle to the public? Encouragingly, it seems most of the other’s responses are truly loving and wishing the best for this man to find peace with God, one way or another.

    I have known two women before and after they left the sisterhood. After separating from the life that in retrospect was clearly tormenting them, they became much more effective in spreading God’s grace and Good News. Their radiating inner peace and joy made it clear they had made the right choice. They had been in darkness, and then had so much light it spread to others in a way it never had before. I can only believe this is what God had intended for them and every step is guided on His path, even the missteps.

    1. Regina, thanks for your kind words, and we’re sorry you’re upset about the “attitude.” I think you misunderstand, however, the issue here. First, we did not in anyway indicate who this priest is (he cannot be identified by anything we wrote), so his privacy has in no way been opened to the public. We have not even revealed his identity to those who know him. Second, the analogy for a priest leaving the priesthood is quite simply NOT to sisters leaving the sisterhood. Religious sisters do not receive a change to their very souls through one of the 7 sacraments instituted by Christ–but every priest HAS been so changed to serve Christ in a very special way through a sacrament instituted by Christ as His final act before embracing His Passion. The analogy of the priesthood is to the sacrament of marriage, because that is another sacrament instituted by Christ Himself to give the grace needed to live a lifelong vocation. In this way, a woman leaving the sisterhood is in no way even similar to this situation. I very much doubt you would counsel a man considering leaving his wife and children that perhaps he will find more inner peace as a single man and find that God will make it clear that such an action is the right choice, that somehow he would be helping others more by leaving the woman to whom God has joined him through a sacrament. What we have done through this blog post is to enlist as many people as we can to pray for our friend in his struggle over persevering in the vocation which God has sealed for him through a sacrament. Asking all these people to specifically pray is something which we consider to be truly loving and the best support for him. All these prayers, we think, are actually more helpful than silence. Furthermore, we are all called to help others through the Works of Mercy which Our Lord explained to us. These works of mercy include our own actions, our own words, our own examples, and especially our prayers and the prayers of others in the Body of Christ. I’m sorry you consider these words in defense of the effectiveness of a Sacrament and prayers for perseverance in a vocation to be “full of judgment,” so an indication of an “attitude among certain Catholics these days” which is upsetting to you. Thanks for your kind words about Holy Heroes and for your prayers. May God bless you and yours!

  2. Dear Father, you are in my prayers
    at our church, every Thursdays we
    pray for all our priest.
    We truly need you, with out our
    beautiful priest we couldn’t have
    mass. If I were the last person on
    this earth and God told me I could
    pick one person to remain here with
    me. It would be you, only you can
    can celebrate the Eucharist I would
    not want to live with out my Jesus.
    Also please make sure that you have
    a strong devotion to Our Blessed Mother Mary. She is the Mother of all
    Priest.when you lose Mary, all priest
    are in great danger. Satan is tempting you he loves to tempt a priest just like Jesus in the garden. Remember he
    hates Our Lady, stay close to her and
    she will never let you down.
    I will place you every day under
    Our Ladies Mantel spend time every
    day if you can in front of the Blessed Sacrament Jesus is calling you you need time with him and I will be there to praying with you when I’m in front of the Eucharist every Tuesday ..
    God Bless you.

  3. So many faithful prayer Warriors! I have just prayed the St. Michael Prayer for Protection for this priest friend. This good man…servant of God…but so human…is being tempted…confused and tempted. I feel so strongly that these tools of the Devil are being used against him and so many of our good and faithful priests in these terrible times. We are bombarded by constant temptations of every kind, day after day….we find it hard to just be good Catholics! How much harder…how MUCH HARDER must it be to be a good PRIEST!!!??? ALL these men need our prayers every minute of the day….to have the strength to fight the good fight and minister to God’s people as Jesus’ hands…as they are called to do by GOD HIMSELF. None feel worthy….but it is hard for them to always remember it is a GIFT from God to them….one they must honor and continuously give to His people….it is HARD….it is TIRING….and at times may seem to go against all they feel they want for themselves. And our prayers….the prayers of the Warriors for Heaven are what holds them fast to the Love of God to serve Him and His people always!
    God Bless this good priest…may he ever serve as He was Ordained to do!
    Continued prayers….always!

  4. Dear Father, I do not know if you will see this but I am a young woman who is just about to start my journey as a Dominican sister in October and I want you to know that I am and will be praying for you!! May Jesus’ peace, love, healing, and joy be with you!

  5. Be a sured of our Marian Movement of priest Cencale will be praying for you!

  6. I would suggest your dear Priest consider a retreat with the John Paul II Healing Center, which is based in Tallahassee, FL. Their work flows from the heart of the Church, is particularly devoted to the needs of priests and seminarians, and has changed many lives. Father, you are certainly, and with tenderness, in my prayers.

  7. Kerri, I took the time to read what you were asking for and thought you worded your letter so well. You hit every important part and yes, the seal on his soul marked at the celebration of Holy Orders is infalable. Thank you for letting him know that this is NOT something that he can walk away from. I loved the reminders that you gave him of daily miracles etc… I pray for our priests, bishops, cardinals and pope every day…and that includes him. I will continue to do so and I thank you for sharing so others can be praying too. I know it is very hard and the Priests will be asked a lot of ….he must think of His love for our Lord and about the Love the Lord has for us!

  8. Please be assured of my prayers, Father. I will be praying St Therese’s daily prayer for priests for you and for all priests. I realized that I must be more committed in praying daily for our priests! May Christ be close to you in your suffering at this time and may you find comfort at the foot of the cross.

    1. Becky: Could you take the time to type in St Therese’s daily prayer here? I’m sure many would like to offer it, too. Thanks!

  9. Please listen to the podcast of Father Joseph Mary Wolf’s homily this morning on the ‘Glory of the Lord’, I had you very much in mind, dear Father, as I listened. Our parish priest had been sick very often in this past year. One week day when there was no priest to Celebrate the Eucharist, one of our Deacons, after breaking the reserved Hosts into four parts, enabled us to receive Our Dear Lord in a Communion service. Dear Father, you are truly a necessary blessing, our Almighty Intercessor, Who brings the Precious Body and Blood of Christ to our suffering world. You are uniquely and preciously needed by us, the Church Militant. “It is easier for the earth to exist without the sun than without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass”.
    Please know you are in my prayers💗. I think all of my brothers and sisters would gain treasure for the priesthood if they were to read, ‘Praying for Priests, A Mission for the New Evangelization’ by Kathleen Beckman, L.H.S..

    1. I would also highly recommend Kathleen Beckman’s beautiful work, “Praying for Priests.”

  10. Oh Jesus our great high priest hear our prayers on be halfway of this child of yours and priest
    Give him a deep faith renewal with a bright hope and burning love. Be with him in his turmoil
    Let him know your love for him and know how much you need him. Oh Mary our mother be his comfort and guide wrap him in your mantle and defend his soul
    Amen

  11. What a beautiful grace we receive as members of One Body in Christ his Church. We can be assured of not being alone in our struggles as we reach out with a cry from the heart as this holy priest has done. Those that are contemplating suicide always reach out in the depth of their despair to be helped. Maybe his reaching out to you folks was his cry for help. His vulnerability will be his saving. God is never outdone in generosity. Father, we your flock are so in desperate need of your vocation and we surround you with a circle of love and prayers in your distress. Please be assured that you will never be alone again in your struggles. God has united us for the support we need to carry our individual crosses and be Simon the Cyrene for each other. Our Lord looks for faithful hearts not perfection. Call on Mother Mary and grab Her hand. She will be your best counselor. We your children will surround you with our loving prayers.
    Please continue to pray for us to be faithful. Your daughter in Christ.

  12. J.M.J.
    Our Dear Priest,
    Even Christ Himself asked the Father if this cup could pass Him. And we all know the ANSWER as we THANK Him now and through all Eternity for His OBEDIENCE to our FATHER’S WILL. Be assured of our ETERNAL thanks for answering yes to your “Divine Calling/Summons” and our prayers for you as you go through your own Garden in Gethsemane to the JOY of the Resurrection! Love in Jesus through Mary, Michael and Robin Blaszak

  13. Whatever has taken you on this path Father I pray that Our Blessed Mother will walk with you. Sometimes our vocation in life will bring challenges and difficulties even doubts. I would lie if I said I hadn’t experienced the same in 30 years of marriage. This summer I have had a son married a son ordained and still have a daughter to be married this month
    I pray for them and their younger siblings and will pray for you too. We live in and manage an oasis of peace house of prayer in Jersey Channel Islands and you are in our prayers. Please consider a pilgrimage to medjugorje to seek God’s will for your happiness and to be able to walk whatever he brings you. God bless you

  14. Dear Father,
    You’ve already heard it all. I’m sorry you are having this difficulty, but I’m sure you’ve heard the same story from your parishioners, “I don’t feel like I’m doing any good. I think I’ve been doing God’s will and suddenly it seems for naught’. We have all felt that way. It may be the devil discouraging you. Or St. Terese of Liseux talked about the dark night of the soul, so did Mother Theresa. I don’t know what you are experiencing, but know that many are prsying for you.
    Kathy

  15. Dear Father,

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have done through the priesthood! Every priest I’ve met in the last few years, seems to be very sick in some way or another. Anger, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, allergies, …etc …As a family we have been on a path of healing mind and body for several years and I’m excited to say a few priests in our diocese have caught the bug and are beginning to heal as well, but it’s a lot of work! I am boldly suggesting that you look into the GAPS diet(very similar to Whole 30 and Paleo autoimmune) along with either the Kackler protocol or Jennifer Daniels protocol. How can a person truly feel his/her vocation when they are so sick? When I feel great I am so much more able to serve and love my family. I’m blessed to be working on baby #6 and feel better at 40 then in high school!

    There are some amazing talks by a priest named Fr Ripperger on YouTube about angels! Did you know that you were given an extra guardian angel just to protect your priesthood!!!? Pray to him and ask for his guidance! Maybe we should all be praying for your angels!

    We pray for you everyday and will continue…God has amazing plans for you!

    Love in Christ!

  16. Beautiful letters to a priest who seems to mean so much to you and apparent that he has done a lot for you as well. Prayers for the priest that he can hear God calling and that his heart remains on fire for the Lord!

  17. This past Sunday was my first in my new role in the “Seven Sisters Apostalate.” (You can find more info. online. This would be a blessing for father and all our dear priests!) Through this ministry I volunteered to make a weekly Holy Hour, on my designated day of the week, for my parish priest (Six other sisters are assigned another day of the week.) As a busy young mother of 5 children, I already make a 5:00 a.m Holy Hour and hesitated to take on another hour for our parish priest, but knew when I received the invitation that I was called. Reading this gives me a new sense of purpose and reminder of the importance of prayer!

    We live in difficult times. I was reflecting today on how it must have felt to be faithful and living in Sodom and Gomora, to be surrounded by darkness and the painful consequences of sin. I felt this today after time on Facebook where we can see the countless horrors around the world at our fingertips. I sense the spiritual battle intensifying and other faithful friends have shared the same.

    As the world moves farther from grace, it will become more difficult to remain on the path of faithfulness and not lose our way.

    Consecrate your families, attend daily Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, pray the rosary and pray for our priests and religious. If the evil one can “steal” them, we lose access to the sacraments and grace. Pray without ceasing. We need all hands on deck.

    Please be assured of my daily prayers for priests, but especially this dear, struggling priest. It is good he didn’t hide his struggle, but through sharing, has allowed Light to enter! Nothing is impossible with Christ! +

  18. Thank you for posting thi request for prayer. We have several priests of our own diocese in Canada who have left the priesthood within the past few years. My thoughts are of St. Paul when he asked God to relieve him of his weakness. Three times God said ‘No’. God said “My grace is enough for you”. In our weakness God’s power reaches perfection.
    The tactic of destroying the priest is another attempt to destroy the Church. Just like Moses who lifted his arms for the parting of the Red Sea, let us be those who through prayer, support the arms of the priest as he ministers and gives us Jesus. Blessed are you Father, and all priests, who may doubt the sheer closeness of Christ. As St. John of the Cross spoke of the closeness of God when we are suffering…He is like the sun by which we are blinded when we look directly at it…yet it is there. May you and all of our priests know God’s love and grace even if for a short time you feel blinded.

  19. Dear Father,
    We will add you to our prayer list, which grows daily. We need to pray for each other, as priesthood, family and our Mother Church are being attacked terribly! Please ask our Lady of Fatima during this 100 yr anniversary of her apparitions in Fatima to intercede for you, her beloved son. May she implore her spouse the Holy Spirit to give you the strength, courage, peace in following your priestly vocation as you carry the crosses that are causing you confusion. You are not alone, Our Father loves you dearly and has not abandoned you, Christ our King has suffered this for you already, just let Him now help you carry it. Be assured of our prayers and love, please pray for us, too!

  20. Dear Father,
    I’m not sure if this brief note will reach you personally or not, but know that my prayers for you will.
    One of my dearest and best friends is a recent seminarian graduate, who is currently on the path to becoming a priest and being ordained later this year but who is perhaps not entirely certain that that is his calling. I am not married, nor have I made any sort of major life decisions regarding my vocation, save the small steps in order to graduate high school and recently college and now in pursuit of work that I am passionate about and will hopefully help others. Therefore, I can offer no real insights or suggestions on what path to take in your current situation except those inspired by the journey I have witnessed my friend experiencing and from my own limited life experience. I hope that my comments will not come off in any way prideful or overbearing.
    One thing that I have observed in my life is that God makes you go through certain trials and paths always with a reason in mind. What that reason is, you may never know. Perhaps the reason will forever be a mystery. In my own life right now, I am struggling to learn to live with a mystery and praying that God will allow me to simply accept it and move on from dwelling on it so entirely.
    Life is incredibly short, while also being longer than the time it seems to take to get through it. Perhaps you have heard God calling you to the priesthood forever, or perhaps you misheard His call. Or, perhaps for some reason beyond our comprehension, you have only been called to live out that particular vocation for a certain amount of time to fulfill some task which God specifically called you to accomplish. But how should I know?
    In connection to my deacon friend, perhaps, although you may be feeling incredibly torn, lonely, unsure, under pressure, and lost, maybe you really are not so and this time is one in which you will not be anchored forever. Maybe you are dangling at the edge of a precipice to be tested or in order to build enough strength to overcome a more trying battle, all in order to build yourself up and come closer to the Kingdom. Recently, I asked myself, “What does being tested in fire have to do with ice?”. I believe I was really asking myself, “What can two opposites have in common?”. Reflecting back on it, I wonder if two opposites could exist independently from the other and I do not think that they can. I suppose this goes back to the running theme that you must go through trials for a reason and the simple fact that in order to see and appreciate the sun you must have experienced the shadows.
    Know that whichever path you choose, surely with God’s help and guidance, that He loves you. And, although I in no way disagree with Ken’s insights on the crucial importance and particularly special calling to the priesthood, for the priest himself and for the faithful, I also think that maybe that vocation is not for all who first seek it or maybe even for those who have been on that path for a long while. But, perhaps the uncertainty and fear will yield strength and beauty in the future if you but pray on it and continue living in the vocation you have been.
    Please know that I say these things with the utmost respect for you and all you have certainly done and take my insights lightly as I have not seen enough years to be able to give any solid insights.
    Blessings in your new job and prayers for the special place God is calling you in your life and in the lives of all you know, as you are still discovering. Discovery is so fearfully beautiful. Love always.

  21. Father, you are in my prayers and I as that you continue to pray….”In the name of Jesus, cast these evil thoughts from my mind. Open my heart and mind to only your will”.
    God bless you and watch over you always!

  22. Father’s letter as well as Kerri’s and Ken’s brought tears to my eyes as we have just witnessed our daughter leave her marriage and the results have been deeply painful for everyone. Our beloved priests who, with God’s grace, bring us the Holy body and blood of our savior Jesus Christ, are also on the front lines of the battle against evil. They are attacked from every direction and need our daily prayers. No matter what vocation we have discerned, once we have received the sacrament, we have all we need. God’s grace is enough! I will be praying daily for this holy servant along with all our priests and religious.

  23. Dear Father,
    Mary Frances is absolutely wrong.
    You are a priest forever! You are special! God chose you to be His priest! That is your vocation. He wouldn’t call you to another state in life. God doesn’t make mistakes. He chose you before you were born; before you were even conceived.
    You just need to get help from the right person. Where do you live?
    A very special priest saved my marriage. If it weren’t for him, I would have made a terrible mistake. I would have abandoned my vocation as a wife.
    Our family prays for all priests every single day– the rosary, other prayers and sacrifices. I am going to offer my Holy Communion for you every Mass. I will pray that you find the help you need. If you can’t find it maybe I can put you in touch with someone who can help you; he is a priest. God bless you and beg Jesus and your guardian angel to help you.

  24. Let’s pray with trust for this holy priest (‘if two or more agree about anything it will be given.’) We pray that you will know how loved and desired you are, Father, by all of us. May the Holy Spirit come and help you to persevere and grant you His peace. Please don’t leave. ❤️ (Dear Mary Frances…there is no judgement in their letters…they are being faithful friends 🌹. No judgement of you either…peace to you as well.) 🌸

  25. Ken & Kerri —
    Thank you for sharing this prayer concern and for sharing your letters. You have both given such loving advice. I will look at your letters again the next time I find myself counseling a friend who is considering leaving their sacramental vocation if they don’t have just cause for doing so (i.e. severe physical / mental abuse in marriage that could be annulled).
    Thank you for reminding us of the importance of praying for all of our priests!

  26. Praying for you, Father, and entrusting you to the prayers of every priest in heaven who struggled…i.e., EVERY priest in heaven, especially those wonderful apostles who hid in fear in the upper room. May the Holy Spirit come to you anew and refresh your heart and your vocation.

  27. I have a close friend that felt he was no longer called to be a priest. It happens. It is not an easy decision and not made without many hours of self reflection. God sometimes needs you to follow a new path. I pray that you will listen to God’s answers to your questions. He loves you. He will not abandon you. Maybe he needs you to pursue another avenue. You are in my prayers.

    1. Would you say this to a friend thinking he should divorce his wife? That maybe God needs you to pursue another avenue, to follow a new path? Does God call you for something, then seal it with a sacrament…then change His Mind about it?

  28. Father, every priest I have met in my life has been a blessing from God and I thank Him for giving them to us. I am saddened by your pain and will pray that the Holy Spirit walks with you in this difficult period of discernment. I will pray that His love and fire burns in your heart and that your agony in this garden ends soon. Thank you and may God bless you Father. Michael P. McWilliams

  29. Father is in my prayers. May we always remember to lift our clergy up. Thank you both for a loving response to your friend.

  30. This priest has the God given right to discern his vocation.
    Maybe God is calling him to another state in life.
    Who are we to judge.

    1. Actually, this is not a “state in life” that is being discussed. Would you advise a friend to divorce his or her spouse with the same sort of advice: “Maybe God is calling you to another state in life–the unmarried state.” Does God change His Mind, or do we change OUR minds and decide it is God Who is changing?

      1. I can see both sides but just like a person can get annulment for not going into a marriage honestly, that maybe true for priests. My uncle joined the priesthood because he thought after high school at the time you either joined the military or joined the priesthood and he had an abusive alcoholic father he wanted to get away from. He was confused and I don’t think much discernment went into it. Who are we to know what God’s will was for him. I don’t know this was all before I was born. His bishop advised him to do the same as your priest friend is planning on doing. Work outside the diocese for a year and take time to discern. He ultimately decided it was not for him I don’t know exactly what guidance through his elders or what made him decide. But he later got married raised 3 faithful Catholics and has helped me a lot on my faith journey. Is an active church member etc. I think we need to be careful saying what God’s will is for people we don’t know. I will pray for him and I hope he does truly find what God’s will is for him. We really have no idea what God is saying to him or what is in his heart or the reasons for why he wants to possibly leave. But I do appreciate the commitment to vocations and I am not saying I know what is the best choice either. I could be completely wrong in my limited vision, just bought I would throw out another perspective

        1. I see what you are saying, but that’s not what an annulment of a marriage actually is. Annulments aren’t because someone changes his or her mind later or that they did not “honestly” go into a marriage (I am not considering “dishonest” to mean fraudulent in this case); annulments mean that the Sacrament did not actually occur because of a limited number of clearly identified impediments in canon law. However, there is no consideration in this instance that the ordination (the sacrament) did not occur; if that were the case, you would simply ordain the person again (oh: and steps would be taken regarding all the sacraments the priest had conferred while he was not, actually, an ordained priest). Not the issue here at all. Similarly, if you discover that a sacramental marriage did not occur, you would then “validate” the marriage so God could give the grace to live the vocation thereafter. I know many people who have done that. God’s sacraments are effective because of GOD doing what He says, not because of the state of the person receiving a valid sacrament.

          1. Thanks for clarifying I guess I shouldn’t of commented without knowing more.

  31. Both of those replies are so very well written, and so very valid. Thank you for sharing this. I will keep your priest friend in my prayers. I believe to truly mean ‘thy will be done’ is the hardest thing we as Catholics are called to do.

  32. Please don’t leave the priesthood Father! We need you more than ever now. Get the help you need in counseling. Make more time for yourself. Rest. Forgive yourself as Christ would forgive you … Completely. But don’t leave the priesthood! People are hurting. Bind up their wounds. Bring them His Body. Run the race.

  33. I keep this holy man in prayer. It’s a difficult decision and I’m not sure what brought him to this point. But I pray that the Good Lord give him guidance and wisdom to see his vocation through.

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