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"Pray for Them!"

from this morning's homily by Pope Francis, commenting on the anointing of David:

But, Father, I have read in a newspaper that a bishop has done such a thing, or a priest who has done this thing.’ Oh yes, I read it, too. Tell me, though: do the papers carry news of what great charity so many priests, so many priests in so many parishes of the city and the countryside, perform? Of the great work they do in carrying their people forward? No? This is not news. It is the same as always: a single falling tree makes more noise than a forest that grows. Today, thinking about this anointing of David, it will do us good to think of our brave, holy, good, faithful bishops and priests, and pray for them. We are here today thanks to them.

Prayers as well for the Ursuline Sisters on this feast of Saint Angela Merici!

About the Author

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus at Boston College.



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I always liked that, for girls who went to Ursuline schools, their motto "Serviam" really seemed to have meaning for them. 

a single falling tree makes more noise than a forest that grows. 

So true.  He really has a knack for metaphors.  Although I'm still a little foggy on this Blessed Imelda person ...

Isn't it precisely because priests and bishops have generally and rightly been held in high esteem that serious lapses by a few of them seem newsworthy and even shocking, just as acts of kindness and charity would seem anomalous in reputed scoundrels? It's deviation from the norm that draws attention. On that basis, a clergyman should be happy that visiting the sick and feeding the hungry do not put him on the front pages.

Father Imbelli:   A forest of one.

Needless to say, it's always commendable  to pray for God's servants, be they good, bad or mediocre, but church hierarchs have for so long called for such prayers in this very fashion merely to deflect attention from church scandals that doing so seems like a ploy, even coming from Pope Francis.  Sad.

I think that's right.  And I think the demoralization of very good priests is one more area where the sex abuse scandal has wreaked its destruction on the body of Christ.


It is good to read of Pope Francis's praise and call for prayers for the dedicated priests who have nurtured our lives of faith. I can count many in my own increasingly long journey. But, having read the homily on the Vatian Radio site, I am disappointed that on this feast of St. Angela Merici there was no corresponding praise and call for prayers for the teaching Sisters who have done the same for numbers of us. St. Angela and the centuries-old Ursuline tradition of education surely deserved a sentence or two.

I'm a little late to the occasion, but glad to add to the chorus of praise for the Ursulines. St. Angela was brilliant. She founded the Ursulines originally as a sort of lay institute. The members would live in the world, dress like other women, and would not limit their charitable works to teaching, but do what was needed to help women and girls wherever they discerned a need. Her concept was ahead  of its time,  and  they were soon forced to accept a semi-cloistered rule and a  mission focused on education of girls. 

Nevertheless, today they work in a variety of ministries, dress as they wish, and do not all llve in convents. And they have begun to accept  lay associates in their good work. St. Angela would be pleased, I think. 

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