word. Pope Benedict’s letter proclaiming the Year for Priests ends by urging priests to make a commitment “to the ideal of com- plete self-oblation to Christ and the Church, which inspired the thoughts and actions of the saintly Curé of Ars.”
For me, A Priest’s Life: The Calling, the Cost, the Joy captures that idea of “self-oblation”—that gift of self—spoken of by the Holy Father. Some of the priests in this book speak of their initial gift of self to Jesus and his Church in their discernment leading up to ordination. Others speak of the ongoing need to offer them- selves to Jesus, as they identify with Christ as “a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1). All these stories show both the joy and the sac- rifice of this vocation.
The Word Among Us has done a service for the Church in collecting and publishing these stories. They reflect the many and varied ways priests are serving the Church throughout the world. They also provide us with a glimpse into the hearts of these priests—what moves them, what energizes them, and what fulfills them. Above all, these stories help us to see more clearly why the priesthood is such a gift to the Church, and why we need to continue praying for our priests and asking God for more priestly vocations.
I would like to invite readers of this book to pray for priests in a special way. As you intercede for them, ask the Lord to keep all priests close to his heart and renew in them the passion that they need to carry out their duties faithfully each day.
My motto as archbishop is taken from Jeremiah 3:15: I will give you shepherds. God has promised to give us priestly voca- tions, but we also need to be faithful in praying for them. I have noticed that in those parishes and dioceses where there is an