November 12, 2009

Say Something Nice About a Priest Meme

Swissmiss tagged me for the “Say something nice about a priest” meme. We are to say something nice about a particular priest and we are to pass it on to three other bloggers to do the same.

In 1984 my brother was rushed to the hospital. He was brought home from school early by my Dad. The school nurse called him because Wayne was acting disoriented for no apparent reason. Dad worked at night so he was home and available. I was home from school for the day and I went with Dad to the hospital. I think Mom joined us later because she was still at work. Wayne was acting disoriented. He didn’t seem to know where he was or what was going on.

It was a horrible afternoon and evening. We waited and waited and waited. Everything was a blur. First there were scans that showed a mass at the base of his brain. Then, a biopsy. Eventually, we ended up in a room-the three of us on a couch being stared at by three doctors. A priest appeared in the doorway. The lead doctor told us again that the scans revealed a mass at the base of Wayne’s brain. There’d be an operation, as soon as possible, to remove it.. Due to the location of the mass, it was entirely possible he’d die on the table or if he survived he may never walk again. There was more. It was cancerous and malignant. Even if they got it all, he may only live for two years. It was a nightmare. I can still remember what I was wearing. My Dad was stunned, my Mom was angry. I, completely, lost it and fell on my Mom bawling and my Dad reached over and held my hair. We got to go see my brother before surgery. The priest Anointed him and granted him the Apostolic Pardon (Wayne was unconscious). He went into surgery and we waited in a waiting room-staring at the TV but not watching it. My Dad was calling the family. This is before cell phones so he was using the pay phone in the hall. Most of the family lived out of state or in outstate Minnesota. It was just the three of us. I was a person of little and indifferent faith then. I’m sure my Angel was there but I ignored him-as I usually did. I didn’t even think to pray.

The surgeon came in, preceded by the priest again. The priest, immediately, walked straight over to me and put his hand on my shoulder. He didn’t say anything. I put my hand up to cover his. I couldn’t say anything. Remember, Father had seen me break down in the counseling room earlier. Father stood there, silent, but a reassuring presence nonetheless. The surgeon told us he felt the surgery was a great success. He felt he’d gotten all of it. However, were were still facing the cancer and the possibility of more tumors appearing later. He was right. We did face that. My brother died in January 1989 at the age of 17. He lived 5 years. 5 very difficult years. I learned much from it and I can see now how the trial deepened my faith. But, it took a while to see that.

To this day, I’ve no idea who that priest was. I’ve no idea who called him. Did anyone call him? Maybe the doctors told him we may need him? How did they even know we were Catholic? Maybe it was a regular practice to call the ‘on call’ chaplain and he happened to be a Catholic priest that evening. I can’t even remember what he looked like. I could barely look him in the eyes. I don’t know his name. Maybe I never will. It doesn’t matter. I’ve never forgotten him and his kindness. He said nothing that I remember but his presence is unforgettable. What a tough duty. What do you say to families in that situation? He tried. God bless him.

This is a post for the simple priests among us. They are not famous. They are not asked to speak at a public event. They don't have cooking shows. They don't write for newspapers. They don't have their own blog. They are not notorious. They are not "conflicted". They are neither progressive nor conservative; they are Catholic. Period. They are always ready to administer the Sacraments at a moments notice without complaint. They may be tired but they are tireless.

I'm not faulting any priests who are high-profile but there walk among us a great number of priests who are not well-known. Their simple ministry is taken for granted. They are rarely thanked because they do what they do and we are too complacent because we've grown to expect they will always be there when we need them-like a rock.

To those simple and humble men of God and, in particular, that hospital chaplain: Thank you. I will pray for you, all of you, during this Year of the Priest.

I tag: Ray, Terry, Adoro


Blogger Adoro said...

OH my gosh I am sitting here crying my eyes out! Thank you so much for sharing this story!

The priest...he was Christ. That's all that is important, ultimately. That's what he was there for, that's what the priesthood is about; to be Christ. And he was. God bless him...He knows who he is and who knows? That priest may well think back and remember that day as clearly as you do.

You never know. I'm so glad he was there for you and for your family. What a huge, huge blessing!

November 12, 2009 6:57 PM  
Blogger Argent said...

I agree with Adoro. He was Christ. What a beautiful Sacrament the priesthood is. What graces are poured through the priest.

November 12, 2009 10:43 PM  
Blogger swissmiss said...

Great story, great priest. May the Church be blessed with many more like him.

November 13, 2009 7:18 AM  
Blogger belinda said...

So very sad.
I had a similar situation with a priest. Our beloved priests mean the world to us.

November 13, 2009 9:43 AM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

I should hand tissues out. I was crying writing the post.

November 13, 2009 1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*takes tissue from Cathy and dries eyes, cheeks, neck*

(((((Cathy)))))) may God bless that beautiful priest, and may your brother (and your mom and all your beloved deceased) rest in eternal peace.

November 13, 2009 7:13 PM  
Blogger belinda said...

Oh no, not your mom too? Poor Cathy.

November 13, 2009 8:42 PM  
Blogger Pedro Garcia Millan said...


La estafa automotriz mas grande en el territorio Mexicano…

Para MAS informacion pinche:


November 13, 2009 8:48 PM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

I find it hard to get into this - it's kind of girlie - but I will try to come up with something.

November 13, 2009 9:23 PM  
Blogger belinda said...

Ladies, I think that Mr.Nelson should volunteer to hold our spent Kleenexes for us, that's the least a gentleman can do and women love that kind of stuff. What's a little snot among friends? ... ;)
Okay , I'm outta here.

November 13, 2009 9:33 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Yeah, Belinda! Get on it, Ter!

Hi Gette! Always great to see you.

November 13, 2009 11:18 PM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

I love Belinda.

November 14, 2009 10:16 AM  
Blogger Fr. John Mary, ISJ said...

As a priest who was called upon, without prior knowledge, to hear a man's confession, anoint him, and then, when in another room to anoint another person, to see him going "code blue" down the hall, stepping into the doorway to give him the "Apostolic Pardon" (for the time of death), seeing his grieving relatives think he was going to die, and then, a day later, to see him walking the halls, absolutely recovering...I have to tell you, I was humbled beyond my wildest imaginations.
God is the very source of all good, all healing, all reconciliation...we priests are the mere instruments of His Mercy and Love.
My human frailty reminds me often of my inadequacy and my infidelity.
But the Sacrament of Holy Orders is a gift, not of mine, but of Christ's, of His Church, for His children.
Thank you, Jesus!
And thank you, Cathy, for sharing this most moving account of the tragic death of your brother but of Christ's Merciful Love made manifest.
May He be praised for ever!

November 14, 2009 8:30 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Thank you Father.

November 15, 2009 10:05 AM  
Blogger belinda said...

Father, that's why it drives me crazy to watch Eucharistic ministers blessing children during communion or blessing throats with candles. They don't have the authority or the power.

Freaky things were happening at my house and the holy water that I used didn't do much to stop it , but when the Priest came and blessed our home every thing that went bump in the night stopped. Then I understood the power of the priesthood and us regular folks just don't have it. I can't stand to see parishioners doing priestly duties ,they're activities are impotent, useless, and a waste of time.

Thank you Terry for your kindness, although my own teenagers still hate me. God bless you.

November 15, 2009 2:10 PM  
Blogger Pablo the Mexican said...


I was given Extreme Unction last week by my Priest and Confessor just before an emergency surgery.

He had little time to get there... our Good Lord got him there quickly, and I benefitted from the Sacrament.

Thanks be to God.

I think the Lord smote me with much pain, that I get some humilty, and Charity.

Sounds like your brother is what is known as a suffering soul; Eternal rest grant him, O Lord.

"Magister adest, et te vocat te."
"The Master is here, and He calls you."
These were the words spoken to the Sinner, when Christ told the crowd to bring St. Mary Magdalene to witness the raising of Lazarus.

When the good Padre looked you in the eyes and spoke not to you, but to your soul, he was saying, "Magister adest et te vocat te."

I will include that Padre in my Holy Rosary Prayers at Mass today.

On Holy Water and Blessed Water:

Blessed Water can do nothing to remove malignant spirits from our homes. Blessed things cannot bless other things.

Holy Water, made properly (only by a Priest), is made with salt, water, and three prayers of Exorcism, this being one of them:

Holy Water blessing: (translated from Latin)

"O water, creature of God, I exorcise you in the name of God the Father almighty, and in the name of Jesus Christ His Son, our Lord, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. I exorcise you so that you may put to flight all the power of the Enemy, and be able to root out and supplant that Enemy with his apostate angels: through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by lire. Amen. Let us pray.

O God, Who for the salvation of mankind has built Thy greatest mysteries on this substance, water, in Thy kindness hear our prayers and pour down the power of Thy blessing + into this element, made ready for many kinds of purifications. May this, Thy creature, become an agent of divine grace in the service of Thy mysteries, to drive away evil spirits and dispel sickness, so that every- thing in the homes and other buildings of the faithful that is sprinkled with this water may be rid of all uncleanness and freed from every harm. Let no breath of infection, no disease-bearing air, remain in these places. May the wiles of the lurking Enemy prove of no avail. Let whatever might menace the safety and peace of those who live here be put to flight by the sprinkling of this water, so that the healthfulness, obtained by calling upon Thy holy name, may be made secure against all attack. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. R. Amen."**

Then the salt is likewise blessed and the salt and water are mixed with the third exorcism prayer over both of them.

Laypeople are permitted by Holy Mother Church to bless their homes and children with Holy Water.You may also say the full Saint Michael Prayer of Pope Leo XIII, as long as we omitt the sentence meant only for Priests.

May God our Lord in his infinite and supreme goodness be pleased to give us his abundant grace, that we may know his most holy will, and entirely fulfill it.

November 15, 2009 3:45 PM  

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