VNO 7: For The Priest Himself

Those following this series and with long memories of the last post recall the sixth VNO Mass is offered for priests, plural. The seventh gives three complete options for “the priest himself.” I’m thinking a priest’s anniversary (as option C presupposes), or perhaps a newly ordained Mass of Thanksgiving, if that does not take place on a Sunday or holy day. Option A is “especially for a priest with the care of souls.” A pastor, or similar such leader, in other words. Choice B would seem to be a general fit for neither of the above options.

Frankly, I find the collects and post-Communion prayers unremarkable. They presume the priest himself is presiding. They petition God mostly for worthiness in ministerial actions. First person point of view. That makes logical sense, I suppose in the context of the “servicing” relationship with people. But I wonder if outstanding texts from the saints would not better suit here, especially those with an eye to the priest’s commitment to God and his prayer life.

There are six antiphons in the Missal:

Especially for a Priest with the care of souls
Entrance Antiphon Cf. Col 1: 25, 28
I have become a servant of the Church according to God’s commission given to me for you. We proclaim Christ, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ Jesus.
Communion Antiphon Jn 15: 9
As the Father loves me, so I also love you; remain in my love, says the Lord.

I’m not sure what to make of that fine text in Colossians. Saint Paul relays his sufferings in verse 24, affirms his calling by God to preach to the Gentiles, and reminds his disciples of his work and struggles. Not that such things are unknown to modern pastors, but my bias would be toward something that speaks of the praise of God the Father or of Christ. Perhaps the Kenosis Canticle cited in Philippians 2:6-11. If you pressed me for a suggestion from the Psalter, I would say the 16th or the 116th. As for communion, there are many fine settings that include elements of the Lord’s farewell discourse (John 14 through 17). Select verses from John 15:1-16 should work well.

Entrance Antiphon Ps 16: 2, 5
I say to the Lord: You are my Lord.
My goodness lies in you alone.
O Lord it is you who are my portion and cup;
you yourself who secure my lot.
Communion Antiphon Cf. Lk 22: 28-30
Jesus said to those who stood by him in his trials: I confer a kingdom on you, that you may eat and drink at my table.

Psalm 16 for entrance again: imagine that! As for that antiphon lifted from Luke’s account of the Last Supper, perhaps Psalm 40 would work well as an Old Testament option. For a New Testament idea, perhaps the Beatitudes or one of the Revelation canticles, especially 19:1-8.

On the anniversary of his Ordination
Entrance Antiphon Cf. Jn 15: 16
It was not you who chose me, says the Lord, but I who chose you and appointed you to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last.
Communion Antiphon Cf. 1 Cor 10: 16
The chalice of blessing that we bless is a communion in the Blood of Christ; and the bread that we break is a sharing in the Body of the Lord.

Some of the above suggestions would work with these. Psalm 116 is often paired with that citation from 1 Corinthians.

Some years ago, we blogged on Masses And Prayers For Various Needs And Occasions. In the GIRM, sections 368-378 cover the universal regulations on their use. You can check our brief comments here and here and here. The USCCB’s unannotated text on the matter is here.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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