Sunday, August 12, 2012

Images of the Priesthood

Sacrament: The ordination of a Priest
Liturgy from a Pontifical (From Antioch on the Oronte)
13th century 
Syriaque 112, Folio 61v
Département des Manuscrits, Division orientale, Bibliothèque nationale de France

Priest kneeling from Stained glass window at Notre Dame de Chartres
Aquarelle drawing
Bouchot 57
Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris 

Publisher : François Jollain l'aisné
Le vray portrait du pieux et charitable prêtre Pierre Ragot, curé de la Paroisse du Crucifix de la ville du Mans, surnommé le Pêre des Pauvres et le véritable père du peuple, décédé en odeur de sainteté le 13.e may 1683, aagé de 73 ans
17th century
Département Estampes et photographie, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris

Agence de presse Meurisse. Agence photographique 
Belgian priest attending to the wounds of a German soldier
13 x 18 cm 
Département Estampes et photographie, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris 

Agence Rol. Agence photographique 
Belgian priest in a church devastated by bombardment: at  Termonde in Belgium
13 x 18 cm 
Département Estampes et photographie, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris 

Agence Roi. Agence photographique 
Priest in front of an improvised chapel about to celebrate mass with soldiers beside him
13 x 18 cm
Département Estampes et photographie, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris 

Agence Rol. Agence photographique
Italian priest giving communion to British soldiers
13 x 18 cm 
Département Estampes et photographie, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris 

Recently Tom Hoopes in The National Catholic Register wrote of "Unforgettable Images of the Priesthood"

Despite the pedophile and other sex and financial scandals of the priesthood blazoned in the papers, he said that the images of the Catholic priesthood he would  always remember are not of priests on a stage — or even priests in the pulpit — but "by priests in action, doing what only priests can do."

He gave a number of examples which he had experienced including this one:
"[T]he greatest priestly action I have ever seen was at Mass on a hot summer Sunday at St. Mary’s Parish in New Haven, Conn. 
This was back before the parish had air conditioning. It was tough for the congregation, but worse for the visiting priest who said Mass in the summer. He had diabetes and some kind of degenerative nerve disorder that made his hands shake. 
“It’s hot for you,” he would joke. “But I’m up here wearing a horse blanket!” 
This priest’s homilies were excellent, showing him to be a great student of Catholic social teaching, but the moment that is burned in my memory happened during the Eucharistic prayer. 
Father was slowing down through the first part of the prayer, like an old record player that needed to be cranked. When he started the consecration, it sounded like he was going to stop altogether. 
But after he started the consecration, it quickly became clear that nothing could make him stop 
“Take this,” pause, “all of you,” pause, “and” … long pause … “eat it.” 
He took a long gasping breath and looked like he wouldn’t recover. A parishioner ran to his side. The priest made it clear he wasn’t about to leave the altar, so the parishioner brought a chair for him to rest on. 
“This … is … my … body … which will be … given up … for you.” 
He lifted the host with shaky hands. We watched in rapt silence. 
He slowly worked through “When the supper was ended, he took the cup …” 
And then a replacement priest had been brought over from the rectory. 
But Father wasn’t about to stop halfway through the consecration. 
Word after agonizing word, he got to the end of the consecration. 
By then, an ambulance had come. After he elevated the chalice, he was carried away on a stretcher. 
Then the replacement priest stepped up to the altar. “Let us proclaim the mystery of faith,” he said. 
Talk about alter christus. Watching that priest was like watching Our Lord consecrating the Eucharist — from the cross. 
“Mom, why wouldn’t he stop?” the kids asked their mother in the car. 
“Because he’s a priest,” said April. “That’s what priests do.”

The parish was St. Mary's, in New Haven, CT. run by the Dominican order.

The priest was Dominican priest,  Fr. Jack Reid OP, who suffers from Parkinson's Disease and is currently retired at Providence College. 

The Dominican priest that relieved him to finish the Mass was the then, Fr. Anthony Giambrone OP, who is currently studying at Notre Dame towards his PhD in Biblical Theology.

St. Mary's is also the church where the Knights of Columbus were founded by the Servant of God, Fr. Michael McGiveny.