Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Denver to Ordain 14

So says Abp. Chaput in his weekly column: In Denver we’re blessed with an abundance of seminarians. They study in two new diocesan seminaries founded in the 1990s: St. John Vianney Theological Seminary and Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary. These are wonderful young men. They’re carefully screened for their character, background, balance and dedication before they enter. And they’re formed throughout their education in a spirit of service and healthy chastity.

How exciting it is to live in the Archdiocese of Denver where a "vocations crisis" does not exist. Thanks be to God!

Elsewhere, The Denver Catholic Register reports that J. Michael Miller, C.S.B., secretary of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education, spoke to seminarians and faculty last week about the role of the priest. The article talks a bit about the "priest as teacher", but then delves into the unexpected (well, to me anyway):

We must speak from the heart,” Archbishop Miller said. “Proclaim the Gospel, but not on your own authority, rather Christ’s.” Then quoting Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Miller said that priests are not sent to proclaim themselves, but the mystery of Christ.

“Like John the Baptist, the priest is only the precursor,” he said. “The focus is not on him, but on the other.”

In proclaiming the Gospel, Archbishop Miller said that seminarians must become masters of prayer. There is a need in the world, he said, a need to know Christ, but often people don’t ask for it.

“People want to know God,” he said. “They come to you to teach them to pray.”

How very true -- we laity do need our priests to help us pray. Very much so.

The comparison to John the Baptist reminds me of the prophet's response when asked whether he is the Christ: "I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie." The best priests know they are nothing next to the one whom they proclaim.