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Newsletter n°6 - November, the 25th - 2009

Tu es sacerdos in aeternum,

Dear friends of Cathofamilink,

We have just closed a prayer-chain for a monk priest who, after a brave and inspiring fight against illness, has given up his soul to God. He was the sub-prior of a new Benedictine foundation in the USA. He had been porter and sacristan in his original abbey in France. At the end of the day it matters little which duties he obediently fulfilled within his community; he was a priest of Christ, configured to Christ the Head and the Sovereign Priest. A priest is important because of what he is rather than what he does. His sacerdotal self, received from Christ Jesus and participating with His own being, makes the priest the earthly mediator of the graces which come to us from Christ.

I have never forgotten my old parish priest (the last parish priest of the parish I grew up in) who at the end of his life had become disabled and completely dependent. I visited him, when he was confined to his bed of suffering and hardly able to make the least little gesture. When I was leaving, as I got to the door, he never forgot to call out to me with his usual zest « And don’t forget … (silence), I am with you in your apostolate! » These words from a priest entirely devoted to his mission went straight to my heart. I understood how he offered as a sacrifice his priestly soul, his suffering at no longer being able to celebrate Holy Mass. His entire being belonged to Christ and, mysteriously, his priestly self seemed to have reached its full maturity. He had not lost his sense of humour but, unmistakably, one could guess how much the painful union with the passion of Christ had transfigured him in this unexpected exercise, part of his mission for the service of souls. I have never forgotten him and when he went to rejoin the light of heaven, I was grateful to him. His body was racked by illness but he had never seemed to me so beautiful, so radiant…

What an admirable priestly figure! What a profound mystery, this mystery of priesthood! What a priest is by the grace of his ordination will always be worth more than anything he could do or not do, more than his human talents or blunders, more even than his limits and his sins. Priesthood is so much the fibre of our Church, so linked to the mystery of the Incarnation and the Redemption of the Lord, that it cannot be measured according to earthly criterion. We, priests, are conscious of not being worthy of the grace we have received, not being up to the mission confided to us. That is why we ask for the charity of your prayers so that we may become more and more attached to Jesus, that we may learn to better serve your baptismal souls ; in short, that we may give to all an example of holiness through our own state of life.

It is in your interests to pray for us because, if we have no reason to be here without you, you would be like orphans of grace without us. Who among you – in your family perhaps – would have the goodness to say a novena for a priest during this year? By responding to the wishes of the Holy Father, you would contribute to the growth of the whole body of Christ and to a new impetus of evangelisation.

Virgin Mary, since your prayers are all-powerful over your Son, ask him for the priests His Heart desires, priests who will be saints!

Father Philippe-Marie


The effect of the new academic year has tailed off and visits to our site have been fewer over the last 30 days. Nevertheless you are showing an increasing interest in the prayer intentions: they have been arriving with a regularity of around 2 per day and the average time spent reading the page is at 6 minutes, up from 4 minutes in the previous 30 day period. You show that it is an important part for you and so we find it hard to understand why those asking for prayers should not sign up to pray for others : the reciprocity of prayer is an integral part of the spirituality of Cathofamilink and this reciprocity is difficult to express if we do not make it known.

The prayer chains have gone from 6 (when the last newsletter was written) to 4 today for reasons already explained. Prayer chains are opened and closed as the situation evolves and according to the designs of Providence. It is true that the death of a sick person for whom we have been praying is a painful event, but knowing that we have counted a little in the person’s human and spiritual life, in their most difficult moments, also helps us to participate a little in their eternal life.

Other requests for prayer chains have recently reached us. Several have not come to fruition because they concern very delicate situations where confidentiality is all-important. It is important to know that if certain adaptations are made and rigorous precautions taken on a case by case basis, such situations could nevertheless be the object of prayer chains. Don’t hesitate to ask one of the Cathofamilink team via the contact links or the prayer chain links on the website.

Prayers of thanksgiving are also making their way into the life of the website: 9 have been posted since their recent origin. We would like each prayer intention or prayer chain to correspond one day with a prayer of thanksgiving, but our role is to accompany rather than to demand: knowing when prayers have been granted belongs only to the wisdom of God. Let’s not forget however all the happiness which is given to us day by day and which should have its place amongst the thanksgiving prayers. That is also part of the principle of reciprocity.

The origin of connections to the website has remained very balanced: almost a third of visits come from direct access, which shows the fidelity of our readers. 46% come from links on other websites and so we see that Cathofamilink is naturally finding its place in the galaxy. The rest come from search engines.