Sacerdotii Nostri Primordia - Encyclical on the Priesthood - Pope John XXIII - Part 20

Help From the Faithful

106. On the occasion of this centenary celebration, We would also like to exhort paternally all of the faithful to offer constant prayers to God for their priests, so that each in his own way may help them attain holiness.

107. Those who are more fervent and devout are turning their eyes and their minds to the priest with a great deal of hope and expectation. For, at a time when you find flourishing everywhere the power of money, the allure of pleasures of the senses, and too great an esteem for technical achievements, they want to see in him a man who speaks in the name of God, who is animated by a firm faith, and who gives no thought to himself, but burns with intense charity.

108. So let them all realize that they can help sacred ministers a great deal to achieve this lofty goal, if only they will show due respect for priestly dignity, and have proper esteem for their pastoral office and its difficulties, and finally be even more zealous and active in offering to help them.
A Call for Vocations

109. We cannot help turning our paternal spirit in a special way to young people; We embrace them with a warm love and remind them that, in them, the Church rests great hopes for the years to come.

110. The harvest indeed is great, but the laborers are few. (102) How many areas there are where the heralds of the Gospel truth are worn out by their labors and waiting eagerly and longingly for those to come who will take their place! There are peoples who are languishing in a miserable hunger for heavenly food more than for earthly nourishment. Who will bring the heavenly banquet of life and truth to them?

111. We have complete confidence that the youngsters of our time will be as quick as those of times past to give a generous answer to the invitation of the Divine Master to provide for this vital need.

112. Priests often find themselves in difficult circumstances. This is not surprising; for those who hate the Church always show their hostility by trying to harm and deceive her sacred ministers; as the Cure of Ars himself admitted, those who want to overthrow religion always try in their hatred to strike at priests first of all.

113. But even in the face of these serious difficulties, priests who are ardent in their devotion to God enjoy a real, sublime happiness from an awareness of their own position, for they know that they have been called by the Divine Savior to offer their help in a most holy work, which will have an effect on the redemption of the souls of men and on the growth of the Mystical Body of Christ. So let Christian families consider it one of their most sublime privileges to give priests to the Church; and so let them offer their sons to the sacred ministry with joy and gratitude.

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