The Priesthood is a team, bonded by a common purpose to serve the faithful, and made stronger by humility and caring toward one another.
Just like players on a baseball team, the Bishop said in his Homily at today’s Chrism Mass, priests play various roles throughout their priestly service, sometimes specializing in a certain position, and other times being more like utility players. “We even wear the same jerseys,” he said.
The Chrism Mass provides a special opportunity each year to reflect deeply on the Priesthood and Religious Life, and the Bishop warmly thanked all priests, deacons, and consecrated religious for their dedicated service, particularly in these times of pandemic.
“The Catholic Church in the Diocese of Allentown has not drawn the drapes during this pandemic,” the Bishop said. Priests, deacons, and religious, along with the diocesan staff and its agencies and institutions, have continued their caring role during these difficult times, he said.
Catholic Charities has found innovative ways to continue counseling and safe ways to keep up food distribution to the hungry. Holy Family Manor continues to care for the elderly under conditions made more difficult by the virus. Catholic schools pivoted quickly to remote and online learning, thanks to investments in technology over the years.
Parish priests, too, have been innovative in finding ways to continue to serve their flock. They have begun livestream Masses, hosted online cooking shows, organized online Bingo of the Saints, prayed the Angelus and held Bible studies over the internet, and even had drive-through Mother’s Day blessings.
Priests also have courageously donned personal protective equipment to bring Sacraments of the Sick to those who are dying of Covid 19, as well as continuing weddings, Baptisms and funerals. “Our churches have never been closed,” he said.
“Teamwork really shows itself in times like this,” the Bishop said. “When we do these things, in these kinds of times, we really show who the Church is. We show who we are, and how we are defined. These are the heroic and innovative acts, the Gospel-driven things, that our priests have done.
“We are a beautiful team, called together by Christ. Team Priesthood is something that makes us truly proud,” the Bishop said. “May we always bat a thousand in our service to God.”