Why Every Priest is a Potential Pope


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"The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools." Confucius

At all times you must expect and practice due diligence. Doing the right and expecting same from people doesn't make you stupid as some people would always say. In so far as you know what you demand and supply, stay firm; you sharpen your tools while you do so.

I love this quote so much because it best describes what it means to stay the course and not be deterred even in the midst of daunting challenges, trials, scandals and difficulties. This best describes the life of Priests. "From the people the priest is taken. Trained and equipped to be a shepherd of the same people that gave him up". It is the same people that vilify, scandalize, threaten, pour vituperations and try to undermine his authority.

From his ordination, every priest is a potential Pope and may one day stand at the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica to give the Urbi et Orbi blessing after the solemn words Annuntio vobis gaudium mangum Habemus Papam! Thus, he deserves our prayers everyday.

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For him, one of the most tedious and engaging moments is the Holy Week Celebration which begins from Palm Sunday and ends with the Easter Vigil. Of particular emphasis is the Easter Triduum – Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, where the great Easter Proclamation – the Exsultet is sung.

I am Roman Catholic, and it seems I missed the seminary by a few whiskers.  Every year during Holy Week I look forward to the celebration of Chrism Mass, the largest of clergy in any Catholic Diocese, it is rich it catholic traditions and church music.. Apart from the solemnity of its celebration, it affords me the opportunity of praying for and with my priests. It is also a reunion.

The Chrism Mass is one of the most solemn and important liturgies of the liturgical year. Usually held in the Diocesan Cathedral, it is generally held on the morning of Holy Thursday, but may in some dioceses take place on another day during Holy Week. This is what is obtainable in the Archdiocese of Lagos in the last 15 years.
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At the Mass, the priests renew their Priestly vows and allegiance to the Church through the Bishop who is the Local Ordinary. The three oils of Chrism, Catechumens and the Oil of the Sick are consecrated and blessed respectively for use in the year while the old ones are solemnly disposed of.

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Now the oil of Chrism is used in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders as well as for the consecration of altars and the dedication of churches ; the Oil of Catechumens is also used in the sacrament of Baptism, while the oil of the sick is used in the rites of anointing the sick.

But perhaps the most intriguing part of the whole celebration is the presentation of the oils from the Sacristy to the Altar to the beautiful chant of O Redemptor it literally melts my heart!

O Redémptor súme cármen
Témet concinéntium.
Árbor foéta álma lúce
Hoc sacrándum prótulit,
Fert hoc prona praésens túrba
Salvatóri saéculi.
Consecráre tu dignáre,
Rex perénnis pátriae,
Hoc olívum, sígnum vívum,
Iúra cóntra daémonum.
Ut novétur séxus ómnis
Unctióne Chrísmatis:
Ut sanétur sauciáta dignitátis glória.
Lóta ménte sácro fónte
Aufugántur crímina,
Úncta frónte sacrosáncta
Ínfluunt charís mata.
Corde nátus ex Paréntis
Alvum ímplens Vírginis,
Praésta lúcem, cláude mórtem
Chrísmatis consórtibus.
Sit haec díes fésta nóbis,
Saeculórum saéculis
Sit sacráta dígna láude,
Nec senescat témpore.

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The song is best enjoyed in its Latin version which expresses our collective prayer to God as his sheep guided on our earthly journey by his priests in its English translation thus; O Redeemer hear the anthem which your gathered people sing. Today I dedicate the beautiful chant to all the Priests of the world, especially the ones who gave, is giving and will give me the sacraments.

Dear Fathers,

As you renew your Priestly vows today, I pray that God will continue to strengthen your resolve to love and serve him and to cater for the spiritual needs of his people. For them I pray; Mia Padre May the oil anointing poured on you on your ordination remain ever fresh and potent in your ministry.

Today, spare a moment and pray for your priests!

We love you Padres! Admultos Annos.


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