Did you know that Jesus instituted the Eucharist and the Priesthood at the same time? On Holy Thursday night, Jesus celebrated the First Eucharist with His Apostles and instituted the Priesthood before heading to the garden to pray.
The Eucharist is such an important meal. If we only knew the immense treasure and value of the Eucharist, we would come to Mass to receive the Eucharist every single day. Our souls need spiritual food and nourishment just like our bodies need physical food to survive and function. The saints have often referred to the Eucharist as “their strength” in their spiritual battles and the nourishment for following God’s will. In the Eucharist, we take a part of Jesus’ own body (the Host) and Jesus’ own blood (the Wine) in to our bodies so that Jesus can transform our prideful and selfish human desires (thinking of ourselves) into desires that are more like Jesus’ (thinking of others). The more often we receive the Eucharist and truly reflect on what is happening when we actually do receive the Eucharist, we will over time start to act and think more Jesus and acting like Jesus will become easier.
In order to have Mass and receive the Eucharist, Priests are critical. Without Priests, there would be no Mass. In other words, for there to be Mass, Priests are needed. Only the Priests have the ability to consecrate the humble and meager human gifts offered during Mass (bread and wine) and transform them into the Body and Blood of Jesus. The shortage of priests has had a significant impact on the ability of Priests being able to say Mass as well on the prayer life of the parish. We at Saint Polycarp have witnessed this firsthand. There is no longer 8:30 am Mass on Saturdays which means that there is no First Saturday devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary and no Miraculous Medal Novena on the First Saturday of the month.
The shortage of Priests has affected the other sacraments as well. The sacrament of Confirmation is now a denary celebration. Without Priests, who will hear your Confession? Without Priests, who will bless your Marriage? Without Priests, who will baptize your child?
It is crucial that everyone prays for more vocations to the Priesthood. More Priests will mean more Masses. We all need the Mass!
praying for vocations,
praying for the priests the Church already has,
praying the rosary,
praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy,
visiting the Blessed Sacrament during Adoration,
coming to Mass earlier so you have more time to pray and prepare your thoughts before Mass begins, and
performing sacrifices (choosing not to watch your favorite tv show, not eating your favorite food, visiting a nursing home, etc.).