All posts tagged: priesthood

Everything Looks Different After Priestly Ordination

Since my priestly ordination, one of my favorite liturgical texts has become the Office of Readings for Bl. Miguel Pro, the Mexican Jesuit martyred for clandestinely administering sacraments to persecuted Catholics. Cobbled together from letters written shortly before his arrest, the reading centers on Pro’s amazement at the change wrought in him by the priesthood. Pro writes to a friend, “Everything begins to look different [after ordination], everything is seen from another angle, everything is shaped by wider, more generous, more spiritual horizons. You will not be the same as before: something more is going to flood your soul and change it.”  But lest his friend expect an instantaneous and effortless transformation, Pro adds, “I did not notice this change until I found myself in touch with souls . . . God our Lord chose to use me as his instrument to do good.” The priesthood for Pro was like seed planted once for all in his heart, yet requiring ministerial contact to flower in his imagination. That this would be the case for Pro, …

An Interview with Rev. Stephen Giannini

The following interview with Rev. Stephen Giannini, of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, appears in conjunction with the second annual John M. D’Arcy Program in Priestly Renewal happening this week at the McGrath Institute for Church life on Notre Dame’s Campus. Rev. Stephen Giannini was a participant in last year’s inaugural John M. D’Arcy program. Rev. Giannini was ordained for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis on June 5, 1993. Currently serving as pastor of Ss. Francis & Clare of Assisi Church, Greenwood, Indiana, he also serves as an associate judge for the Metropolitan Tribunal, confessor for the Little Sisters of the Poor and Sisters of Loretto at St. Augustine Home, and associate spiritual director at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary, all in Indianapolis, Indiana.   Note: The following interview has been edited for length and clarity. How do you understand your priestly vocation? As all Christians are called to love God and to love their neighbor, I believe that the priestly vocation lives out this command through celebrating/officiating at Sacraments; teaching/preaching the Good News; and being a …

Priestly Renewal at Notre Dame

While John Paul II is perhaps best known for his role in the collapse of the Communist bloc in Eastern Europe or for what is popularly referred to as the “Theology of the Body,” the case can be made that his Apostolic Exhortation of 1992, Pastores Dabo Vobis, has in fact affected the lives of most Catholics throughout the world in even more significant ways.  For in that document, the now sainted Holy Father laid out a vision for the formation (note, not merely education) of priests, and this radically revamped the way seminaries prepare men for ordained service.  He spoke of formation not merely in terms of theological education (what might be called intellectual formation) but also in terms of spiritual, pastoral, and human formation.  This in turn reshaped the way seminaries function and work to prepare men for ordained ministry.  This past December, the Congregation for the Clergy issued a new Ratio Fundamentalis, or basic schema, for the formation of priests.  It too speaks very much of the training of priests in terms …

Practices of Priesthood

I have been quite fortunate in my twenty-three years of priesthood to have known some superb role models of priestly life and sacerdotal zeal; unsurprisingly, most of them are older than I am, but in fact a few of them are younger. And the lessons I have learned from them in terms of pastoral fruitfulness can, I think, be boiled down to four simple—stunningly simple—principles. Now I say “fruitfulness” rather than “success” not merely out of deference to Blessed Mother Teresa, whose advice was, quite similarly, “worry about being faithful, not successful,” but also because the language of success carries the baggage of a secular business model and I am not entirely persuaded that the Church at all benefits, least of all unwittingly, from shaping its life around the corporate paradigm; a crucifix is not, after all, an image of efficiency, productivity, or success. What are these four stunningly simple principles of pastoral fruitfulness? In short: Show Up, Smile, Work Hard, and Be Nice to People. Of course these lessons could be offered by almost any …