By Scott Hahn
What’s the most effective way we can give back to the Church during this season of Lent?
The answer is simple: We can help her priests.
It really is that straightforward. The Church’s priests are our spiritual fathers. They teach us. They counsel us. They show us, through word and deed, what it means to be Catholic.
Ever since I founded the St. Paul Center, helping our priests has been a key part of our mission. Now, though, in this season of sacrifice and renewal, I’m asking how I can better give back to our priests. I’ve thought it over, and I’ve come up with a few practices that I’m striving to implement in my own life. I invite you to join me.
This one seems so obvious that it might be unnecessary to mention. But our priests need prayers, now more than ever, and in this time of penance and preparation for Easter, most especially. So I strongly urge you to make praying for your parish priest part of your Lenten practices. Commit to a weekly, or even daily, devotion. Have special Masses offered. And more, let your priest know you’re praying for him. Through my various outreaches and in my day-to-day life, I speak with priests often, and one thing I can tell you for sure: our priests need encouragement. Let’s offer them the encouragement they would so deeply appreciate by sharing with them that they are not forgotten in our prayers.
Offer Up Penances
Another way we can spiritually help our priests is to offer up our Lenten penance for them. If you’ve given up snacking between meals or are fasting from media, offer it up for your pastor to obtain the grace of perseverance and hope, and to be fortified to serve God well in his ministry. Even the smallest of sacrifices is worth offering up for the ministry of our priests.
Helping our priests spiritually is paramount, but you can also help them in other ways. Offer your time and talent around your parish this Lent—maybe volunteer to help at a Holy Week liturgy, or just stop by the rectory to ask Father how he’s doing. These are small ways we can help lift the spirits of our spiritual fathers as they work to guide us through this season of Lent. Of course, giving alms is always a praiseworthy practice. I encourage you to give generously of your talent, but also to offer financial assistance as much as possible to those ministries that serve priests.
One way the St. Paul Center is striving to serve priests is through our annual Priest Conferences, one held in July in West Virginia, the second held in January in California. In one year alone, we’ve reached over four hundred priests from across the nation and the world. And this is all thanks to your generous support.
Our priest conferences are a unique opportunity for our spiritual fathers to grow in their own vocation, but the St. Paul Center wants to do more than just offer our assistance to priests once a year.
That’s why, this spring, the St. Paul Center will begin the first of our specialized training seminars for seminaries using the St. Paul Center Verbum Library, a cutting-edge digital platform that allows users to build an online library, access the books and passages needed in mere seconds, and see what every book in their library says on a given topic.
Please consider partnering with me and the St. Paul Center this Lent in serving and supporting our priests in these ways and in others. We’ve done so much with your help, and together we can do so much more.
In these forty days of Lent, the more encouragement, support, and hope we can give our priests, the better off we all will be.
And with God’s grace, we can help the Church immeasurably every time we help one of her priests.
Priests face so many challenges and carry so many burdens. Join us in giving our priests the tools they need to face those challenges and the help they need to carry those burdens. Pray for our work and send your most generous gift today.
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If you're looking for ways to enrich your Lenten experience, you might also be interested in watching Genesis to Jesus. This premier Catholic Bible study is free only during Lent. Sign up now to watch all lessons for free before Easter.