"Big Four" Highlights


Praying for Priests

Helping ‘Father’ with our prayers

By Jason Godin
Associate Editor, Fathers for Good

Traditionally the laity sees assisting the priesthood as mostly an output of their own time, treasure and talent. For some it is one night a month attending a finance or pastoral council meeting. Others may find it means donating money toward a seminarian scholarship fund. Perhaps you see it as preparing and sending a warm dinner plate periodically over to the rectory.

In Praying for Priests: A Mission for the New Evangelization (Sophia Institute Press), Kathleen Beckman reminds us that another practical way people can support priests is through personal prayer. An appeal for all to participate in priestly renewal, especially with a rosary in hand, the book coincides with the launch of Foundation of Prayer for Priests, an apostolate of intercessory prayer and catechesis of which Beckman serves as co-founder and president. She was invested as a Lady of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in 2002. She and her husband, George, have two children and live in Orange County, California.

Kathleen Beckman says that praying for priests is an important mission for the laity.

Beckman communicated recently with Fathers for Good via email about her work.

Fathers for Good: You have an entire chapter on “heroines of spiritual maternity.” Which male saint do you consider the biggest “hero of spiritual paternity” and why?

Kathleen Beckman: The book is written to magnify the Congregation for the Clergy’s 2012 initiative for priests entitled “Eucharistic Adoration for the Sanctification of Priests and Spiritual Maternity.” When an official of the Congregation for the Clergy met with me in Rome in May 2014, however, he advised that the Cardinal Prefect desired that we also foster spiritual fatherhood because he recognized the importance of spiritual paternity.

To answer your question specifically, in my humble opinion the greatest example of spiritual paternity is St. Joseph, spiritual father of Jesus, the Eternal High Priest. We can consider St. Joseph the icon of spiritual fatherhood and a model for the masculine ideal. He exemplifies the dignity of all fatherhood and the roll of a father is so important for the health of the domestic church and the universal church.

FFG: How has Pope Francis most advanced the mission of praying for priests?

Beckman: The Holy Father led by example when he started his pontificate with the words, “Pray for me.” He seeks prayer not only for his priesthood but also for all priests who are now his spiritual sons. In Evangelii Gaudium, for example, he expresses the importance of intercessory prayer for the new evangelization. Pope Francis gives us many glimpses of his own prayer life such as when we see him kneeling before a statute of Mary, praying and bringing her a bouquet of flowers. He also provides for the care of the ministerial priesthood and vocations through the Congregation for the Clergy and bishops.

FFG: Ultimately what do you find as one of the greatest similarities between the father of a family and the pastor of a parish?

Beckman: Paternal love, the unique masculine character of fatherly charity that protects and fosters the welfare of each member of the biological or spiritual family entrusted to him.

Visit Sophia Institute Press for more information about Praying for Priests. For more about Kathleen Beckman’s work as an author, speaker, Catholic radio host and retreat director, visit FoundationForPriests.org.

ENGAGE AND INTERACT: When and where do you plan to pray for priests in the days to come?