Loading
Annual conference offers encouragement to priests during times of struggle
Annual conference offers encouragement to priests during times of struggle
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- A five-day conference held at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio earlier this month brought together over 180 priests from across the country to receive support and practical help in order to be "Strengthened in Hope."

The 35th annual Priests, Deacons, and Seminarians Conference was held from June 15 to 19. Participants spent time with other priests, deacons, and seminarians, while finding renewal in the sacraments and attending talks and workshops helping them learn how to turn obstacles and challenges into opportunities for hope and witness.

The conference was co-hosted by Father Michael Scanlan and Father David Pivonka, TOR, director of Post-novitiate Formation for the Sacred Heart Province of the Third Order Regular and superior at St. Louis Friary in Washington, D.C.

Bishop Robert Baker of Birmingham, Alabama received Franciscan University’s Shepherd’s Award at the conference. The award was given to Bishop Baker "in recognition of the ways he has helped God strengthen and raise up faithful loving shepherds for his flock."

University Chancellor Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, presented the award in front of an enthusiastic crowd, saying, "Bishop Baker has a real heart for the people and a great pastoral care for his priests, and places a priority on the promotion of vocations to the priesthood and religious life."

Baker was appointed as bishop of Charleston in 1999 and then as bishop of Birmingham in 2007. He is the author of the recent book, The Questioner’s Prayer, and also worked with Father Benedict J. Groeshel, CFR, to write When Did We See you, Lord?

Addressing the gathered crowd, Bishop Baker encouraged his fellow priests to offer their intentions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus every day and consecrate themselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus every month. In addition, he strongly recommended that they never miss daily Mass and that they schedule a holy hour at least once a week, if not once a day.

The bishop expressed his hope that during this newly-begun Year for Priests, the lay faithful would "engage themselves in prayer and action for our priests," helping to renew the love and devotion of priests around the world. "The priesthood is the love, the heart, of Jesus," he said.

In addition to the award ceremony, other highlights of the conference included enriching talks and workshops on a variety of theological and pastoral topics, as well as testimonies and opportunities for confession, Eucharistic adoration, daily Mass, and praise and worship.

Father David Toups, associate director for the U.S. Bishops’ Office of Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations celebrated the 12th anniversary of his vows during the conference. Father Toups conducted a workshop, "Character Produces Hope," in which he called on fellow priests to live moral lives of virtue, striving to "be credible witnesses so the people may believe in Jesus Christ."

Encouraging annual retreats and spiritual direction, Father Toups emphasized the dangers that come from priests failing to comprehend their identity. "The future of the Church is jeopardized when we don’t live in accordance with the great calling we have received," he said. Toups suggested prayers for both priests and laity in support of the priesthood.

Another of the workshops, "Mary: Star of Hope," emphasized the importance of Mary in today’s world as a guiding "Star" pointing towards Christ. Father Leo Patalinghug, director of Pastoral Field Education at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, conducted the workshop, saying, "The Blessed Mother is more than a statue and more to us than a simple set of prayers we say on a bunch of beads." Explaining that every saint had a devotion to the Blessed Mother, he continued, "Mary is the great sign of hope. She points to our salvation at the foot of the cross."

Father Patalinghug urged priests to make their everyday lives a reflection of Marian virtues, including humility, obedience, and compassion. "We’re in an age where disobedience is popular and obedience is irrelevant," he said. Yet despite these obstacles, he encouraged priests to persist in the spiritual works of mercy. "Be proud of your Catholic identity," he said.

The final talk, "A Royal Priesthood: Hope for the Church and the World," featured University trustee Diane Brown explaining that without priests, there would be no sacraments, no Church, and no salvation. Brown expressed her gratitude to priests, who are "of more value to mankind than the entire material universe."

Brown spoke about the importance of prayer and seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit in order to preach the truth faithfully. "Pray and don’t stop praying," she said, encouraging the gathered priests to boldly carry out their missions on earth. "A world without God is a world without hope. You, my brother priests, are what the world needs."

The Priests, Deacons, Seminarians Conference is one of six summer conferences for adults offered at Franciscan University. Those interested in upcoming conferences can find information at www.franciscanconferences.com.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Nov
26

Liturgical Calendar

November 26, 2014

Wednesday of the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 21:5-11

Gospel
Date
11/25/14
11/24/14
11/23/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Rev 15: 1-4
Gospel:: Lk 21: 12-19

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
11/25/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 21:5-11

Homily
Date
11/25/14
11/24/14
11/21/14