There are no words to adequately express the depth of appreciation in our hearts for our priests – “Alter Christus.” To be another Christ is “to lay down your life for your friends” – a total gift of selfless love in serving the flock of Christ, guiding and shepherding us through the preaching of His Word, administering His healing and forgiveness and His love in the sacraments, most especially the Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith. Be assured of our daily prayers for you for your protection, good health, and blessings on your ministry for the salvation of souls.
Sister Rita Therese, O.C.D.
Last year a poster was put out by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles with the line “standing between heaven and earth”. To me, this describes exactly what the priesthood is and why I am grateful for the priesthood – they mediate God’s grace to us in an essential way that we cannot do for ourselves. Our priests are given the ability to stand at the altar in persona Christi and through their words, Christ becomes present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist. In the confessional, our priests are given the ability to speak the words of absolution in persona Christi and through their words, our sins are forgiven and divine life is restored to our souls. We become more aware of the gift of the priesthood when we are not able to directly receive the gift. Without the priest, the bread and wine are not transubstantiated into the Holy Eucharist, no matter what words we say. In the confessional, our sins are not forgiven if there is no priest to speak the words of absolution. May God reward all of our priests with the gift of eternal life for ‘standing between heaven and earth’ on our behalf!
Sister Joseph Francesca, O.C.D.
How we love our priests! They have the humbling responsibility of standing in the person of Christ, in the context of our shared human brokenness. Yet, day by day, there they stand, and as Carmelites, it is our privilege to embrace our vocation to stand behind them.
Sister Anita Mary, O.C.D.
What would become of us without the ordained priesthood? We would no longer have Jesus Christ present amongst us in the Blessed Sacrament. We would no longer have the Sacrament of Reconciliation – no priest to whom to confess our sins. There would be no Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, no reception of the Holy Eucharist nor of the Precious Blood. Let us all be truly grateful to Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother for the gift of the ordained priesthood and pray with intense fervor for our priests and for more holy, chaste and fervent priests.
Sister Kateri, O.C.D.
“Behold, I make all things new.” During this week when our salvation and redemption became our reality through the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus, we are able to come face-to-face with this new life. We are invited to embrace it as our own. It is precisely this invitation that is presented to us through the Sacramental life of the Church. We are able to accept this life precisely in and through the ministers who, as Alter Christus, are given to the Church to give us this life. These ordained ministers are men of faith; men of action, and men of the Sacraments. They are the first to respond to and point the way to Christ in our world and in our lives. They stand in the breach for us as they administer His Mercy to us. And, as priests, they call the Lord of Creation down upon the altar and give Him to us in Holy Communion. They are the ones who present us with the invitation to life and administer the first response of faith through our baptism. It is with great gratitude and prayerful support that we reach out to our Spiritual First Responders, especially those who have touched our life and brought us the invitation to faith and have pointed us to the way to life through the Sacramental life of the Church. We are eternally grateful to you and offer you our prayerful support!
Sister Mary Joseph, O.C.D.
During this Lent, in light of the coronavirus, I have been reflecting more than ever on the gift of the holy priesthood. As we now realize, perhaps more starkly than ever, through the providential plan of the Blessed Trinity, we are dependent on our priests for the reception of the sacraments. Through them, we are initiated into the Church by our Baptism. Through them we are united daily to the saving events of our Lord Jesus in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Through them, we are able to receive Jesus in Holy Communion and experience the healing effects of Reconciliation. I am filled with a deeper sense of gratitude for the daily self-gift of our priests, who offer themselves wholeheartedly to God to unite us to Him. I am also so grateful for all the ways they are going above and beyond to reach out and continue serving in these challenging and difficult times. May our priests be drawn ever more deeply into the Sacred Heart of Jesus and find refuge under the mantle of our Blessed Mother.
Sister Laetitia Therese, O.C.D.
Where would we be without our priests! My heart fills with joy in the presence of a priest, since it is through the person of the priest that we draw close to Christ. Many times, when I have longed to be close to the Father, I have experienced Him reminding me that He is present in His Son and in the ones He has sent – “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). For me, one of the little lambs, there is nothing better than being near the shepherds that our Lord Jesus has given us, to keep us close to His Sacred Heart. I am so very blessed to be called to lay down my life in a special way as a Carmelite for priests. Their presence in my life has been a healing balm to my wounded soul. Thank you, God, for these precious sons who are so close to Your Fatherly Heart! Please bless them always!
Sister Isabelle, O.C.D.
“This is My Body which will be given up for you…do this in memory of Me.” As we celebrate the Institution of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday, let us give thanks to God for the gift of the priesthood. Our priest, who is Alter Christus, is a living sacrifice. And right now, with the corona virus pandemic, they carry the burdens of their flock – their feelings of abandonment, their anxieties, their hunger for Our Lord in the sacraments – as a good shepherd after the Heart of the Good Shepherd. I am personally grateful for the priests who have accompanied me in my own life – in my journey of growing in my Catholic faith, in my vocational discernment and in my religious life. Dear Fathers, may you know that your Carmelite Sisters accompany you daily through our prayers and sacrifices.
Sister Elizabeth Therese, O.C.D.
Father. Truly the Catholic priest has been my Father! In a quick stroll down memory lane, I remember the resilient, enduring heart of Msgr. John Flack who faithfully guided my home parish and giving me the Bread of Life for my first time, to the ever gentle, ever wise, and charitable Father Armando Ochoa who carried my family through the dark night, to a vigorous, tough exterior but lovable chaplain Father Donald Lynch who loved his Carmelite sisters as if they were his own blood, to the ever hardworking, protective, and robust Msgr. Lawrence Gibson who cared for his Carmelites greatly and often had an impish twinkle in his eyes, to our protective and theologically wise friend and mentor Father Brian Mullady, O.P., to the ever faithful, joyful school chaplain Father Matthew Ibok who was always ready to hear another confession, to the compassionate, friendly, and solicitous Father Gregg Pedersen, and to the very endearingly wise and so enjoyable yet pithy to a point, our beloved Msgr. James Turro. These are only some of the priests who have molded my life. The list is infinite, and should it not be? It should. God reward you for faithfully giving us the sacraments and for your faithful hearts and lives.
Sister Maria Kolbe
Know how greatly we appreciate you and all that you do to bring us to God and our vocation as His children. During this time of social distancing, please understand how important it is that you continue the sacred ministry of your holy priesthood, especially in the daily offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. May you recall the words of the saints and those who preceded us in life about how significantly Christ’s Sacrifice on our altars impacted their lives, the deceased, and all mankind. The following are just two quotes to encourage you to carry on:
“It would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do so without the Holy Mass.”
-St. Pio of Pietrelcina
“No human tongue can enumerate the favors that trace back to the Sacrifice of the Mass. The sinner is reconciled with God; the just man becomes more upright; sins are wiped away; vices are uprooted; virtue and merit increases; and the devil’s schemes are frustrated.”
-St. Lawrence Justinian
Sister Mary Karen
May God reward you most abundantly for the exercise of your priestly ministry. We are tremendously grateful for your fidelity in bringing our Lord to our country and world each day. This is especially true now that most of us cannot attend Mass, receive the Sacraments, or even make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament in our churches. Knowing that you are being faithful to your ministry helps us to be faithful in a deeper way than before. Please be assured of our prayers for you, our beloved priests.
Where would we be without our priests? You are Christ’s Hands, Feet, Mind and Heart in a way no one else can be. By your consecration, Christ once again becomes incarnate in you and He renews the entire Mystery of His Life, Death and Resurrection in and through you. Not only do you carry this treasure within, but the Sacred and Priestly Heart of Jesus pours itself out through you, giving you the power to make really present His Paschal Mystery – an awesome gift beyond our understanding! We can touch and consume the Flesh of God because of you! We are so grateful that you have said “yes” to being poured out in love for Christ and His Body, the Church. You are surrounded, supported and protected by our daily prayers and sacrifices. May Our Lady keep you always in union with Her Son and at the end of your life may you be rewarded by the One Who called you to His altar.
Sister Maria Goretti