there are really many things to be done for the true good of the Clergy and for the fecundity of the pastoral ministry in today’s circumstances, but precisely because of this - though with the firm determination to face such challenges without avoiding difficulties and efforts, with the awareness that action follows being and that the soul of every apostolate is divine intimacy - we intend to start from a spiritual movement that, leading to an increasing awareness of the ontological link between Eucharist and Priesthood, and of the special maternity of Mary towards all Priests, may give life to a “roped party” of perpetual adoration for the reparation of faults and sanctification of priests. as well as for the prompting of a commitment on the part of consecrated feminine souls, so that - on the typology of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the High and Eternal Priest, and Associate in his work of Redemption - they will wish to spiritually adopt priests in order to help them with their self-offering, prayer, and penance..
According to Tradition’s constant datum, the mystery and reality of the Church are not limited to the hierarchical structure, the liturgy, the sacraments, and the juridical ordinances. In fact, the intimate nature of the Church and the prime origin of its sanctifying efficacy, must be sought in the mystical union with Christ.
According to the doctrine and the very structure of the dogmatic constitution Lumen Gentium, such union cannot be conceived of as separate from Her who is the Mother of the Word Incarnate, and the one whom Jesus willed to be intimately united to Himself for the salvation of the whole of humankind.
It is not therefore merely accidental that the same day in which the dogmatic constitution on the Church was promulgated – on 21 November 1964 – Paul VI proclaimed Mary “Mother of the Church”, that is, mother of all faithful and of all pastors.
And the Second Vatican Council – referring to the Blessed Virgin – expresses itself in these words: “She conceived, brought forth and nourished Christ. she presented Him to the Father in the temple, and was united with Him by compassion as He died on the Cross. In this singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity in the work of the Saviour in giving back supernatural life to souls. Wherefore she is our mother in the order of grace.” (LG n 61).
Without adding or taking away anything from the one mediation of Christ, the ever Virgin is acknowledged and invoked in the Church with the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Mediatrix; She is the model of maternal love who must inspire all those who cooperate – through the apostolic mission of the Church – in the regeneration of the entire humanity (cfr LG n 65).
In the light of these teachings, which belong to the ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council, the faithful , turning their gaze towards Mary – shining example of every virtue -, are called to imitate the first disciple, the mother to whom, in John – at the foot of the cross (cfr Jn 19: 25-27) –, every disciple has been entrusted. In this way, becoming her children, they learn from Her the true meaning of life in Christ.
Thereby – and precisely because of the place occupied and the role performed by the Most Holy Virgin in salvation history – we intend, in a very particular way, to entrust all Priests to Mary, the Mother of the High and Eternal Priest, bringing about in the Church a movement of prayer, putting continual eucharistic adoration throughout the 24 hours at the centre, so that a prayer of adoration, thanksgiving, praise, petition, and reparation, will always be raised to God, incessantly from every corner of the earth, with the primary aim of awakening a sufficient number of holy vocations to the priestly state and, at the same time, spiritually accompanying. with a kind of spiritual maternity – at the level of the Mystical Body – all those who have already been called to the ministerial priesthood and are ontologically conformed to the one High and Eternal priest, so that they will serve Him and their brethren better and better, as those who, at one and the same time, are “in” the Church but also “facing” the Church standing in Christ’s stead and representing Him, as head, shepherd and spouse of the Church (cfr PdV n. 16).
We are asking, therefore, all diocesan Ordinaries who perceive in a special way the specificity and irreplaceability of the ordained ministry in the life of the Church, together with the urgency of a common action in favour of the ministerial priesthood, to become an active part and promote – in the different portions of the People of God entrusted to them - , veritable cenacles in which clerics, religious and lay people - united among themselves in the spirit of true communion - devote themselves to prayer, in the form of continual eucharistic adoration, , also in the spirit of genuine and real reparation and purification. For that purpose, we enclose a leaflet that aims at a better understanding of the nature of the initiative, and a form to kindly fill out and send back to this Congregation if there is the intention – as we hope - to adhere, in the spirit of faith, to the project that has been introduced here.
May Mary, Mother of the one, Eternal and High Priest, bless this initiative, and may she intercede before God, asking for an authentic renewal of priestly life, taking as a model the only possible one: Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd!
I greet you cordially in the Bond of ecclesial communio with feelings of profound collegial affection.
From the Vatican, 8 December 2007
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V. Mary