St. John Vianney described priesthood in this way: "The priest is not a priest for himself; he does not give himself absolution; he does not administer the Sacraments to himself. He is not for himself, he is for you.... The priesthood is the love of the Heart of Jesus."
Pope Benedict XVI tells us that a priest "faces his Master's same fate." Like Jesus, a priest experiences the world's "incomprehension" of God, "indifference" toward God, and "rejection" of God.
A priest also "experiences Christ's joys." Priests are consecrated in Christ so they can speak and act in Jesus' name, celebrate sacraments, minister to those in need, and lead the faith community. Like Jesus, priests lay down their lives for those entrusted to them by the Father, following in the footsteps of the Lord.
Only God can fully sustain a priest in his vocation, but Catholics can also provide everyday support and encouragement. Here are five things you can do to help your parish priest: Pray for Your PriestParticipate and Be ActiveWatch Your ExpectationsBe Prepared to Believe the BestShow Your Appreciation
Jesus makes himself present to us in a special way through his priests--so whatever you do for your parish priest, you also do for the Lord. And whatever you do for the Lord helps to build the Kingdom of God right here on earth.