The Station of the Cross 25th Anniversary Celebration – August 24th – Niagara Falls, NY

3 Ways to Pray for Your Parish Priest

Our parish priests nurture the lives of the faithful daily. Here are 3 ways that you can pray for your parish priest to continue the work towards eternal salvation!


1. Add Sacrifices


St. John Vianney built up his flock, although he often trembled from a conviction of his personal inadequacy. He desired more than once to withdraw from the responsibilities of the parish ministry. Nonetheless, with exemplary obedience he never abandoned his post, consumed with the salvation of souls.


He sought to remain completely faithful to his own vocation and mission through the practice of asceticism. “The great misfortune for us parish priests is that our souls grow tepid,” meaning that a pastor can grow dangerously accustomed to the state of sin or indifferent to the many states of sin in which his flock are living. Vianney kept a tight rein on his body, with vigils and fasts, for the good of the souls in his care and to help expiate the many sins he heard in confession. To a priestly confrere he explained: “I will tell you my recipe: I give sinners a small penance and the rest I do in their place.”


By adding penitential sacrifices to our life, we can remind ourselves to embrace deprivation. By doing what is uncomfortable, we are reminded of the sacrifices our priests make for us.


You can add sacrifice into your daily life by attaching intentions to each act of penance. For example:


  • Leave sugar out of your coffee and offer it in reparation for the bitterness of the world’s criticism of priests
  • Forego alcohol, praying that your parish priest’s heart may be inebriated with the Holy Spirit
  • Wake up an hour earlier to pray a rosary for your parish priest


2. Pains of Daily Life

The second way to pray for your parish priest unites the pains, disappointments, and tedium of daily life with those of Jesus. Our model is Mary at the foot of the Cross who said “yes” to God. Our whole day can be offered for priests in the morning, using some approved form of the morning offering like this one:


Divine Savior, Jesus Christ, who has entrusted the whole work of your redemption, the welfare and salvation of the world, to priests as your representatives, I offer you through the hands of your most Holy Mother Mary, this present day, whole and entire, with all its prayers, works, and sacrifices, its joys and sorrows, for the sanctification of your priests, and for all those preparing for the priesthood. Give us truly holy priests, inflamed with the fire of your divine love, who seek nothing but your greater glory, and the salvation of souls. And you, Mary, good Mother of priests, protect all priests from dangers to their holy vocation, and with the loving hand of a mother, lead back to the Good Shepherd those unfortunate priests who, unfaithful to their exalted vocation, have gone astray. Amen.


St. John Vianney awakened repentance in the hearts of his parishioners by forcing them to see God’s own pain at their sins reflected in the face of the priest who was their confessor. Our parish priests are called to imitate Vianney and fling open the abyss of God’s love, explaining the untold beauty of living in union with him and dwelling in his presence. By offering our own daily difficulties for the sake of our parish priest, our prayers can strengthen them.


3. Adoration and Prayer

When we spend time with Jesus in the Eucharist, our prayers for priests take on a special power and immediacy. St. John Vianney taught his parishioners primarily by the witness of his life. It was from his example that they learned to pray, visiting Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament frequently.


We know that Jesus is there in the tabernacle: let us open our hearts to him, let us rejoice in his sacred presence. That is the best prayer.” And he would urge them: “Come to communion, my brothers and sisters, come to Jesus. Come to live from him in order to live with him… Of course you are not worthy of him, but you need him!” This way of educating the faithful to the Eucharistic presence and to communion proved most effective when they saw him celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.


Penance and prayer are not something we make up for ourselves. It grows out of friendship with The Crucified and His Mother, who invite us to share in their mission. The silent, unmistakable voice of God will lead us to the sacrifices that God has chosen for us. “Whoever wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me” (Lk 9:23).


St. John Vianney reminds us that “when people want to destroy religion they begin by attacking the priest; for when there is no priest, there is no sacrifice: and when there is no sacrifice, there is no religion.” At this pivotal moment in Church history, it is a beautiful gift to pray for our parish priests.

Visit The Station of the Cross for more authentically Catholic media content and listen to this episode of Sermons for Everyday Living to learn more about how to pray for our priests and Bishops.


St. John Vianney, pray for us!


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