Vatican City, July 3, 2018 / 11:08 a.m. (CNA News/EWTN).- In his latest prayer video, Pope Francis asked Catholics to dedicate the month of July to giving a spiritual gift to their pastors by praying for them, especially tired or lonely priests.
“The fatigue of priests… Do you know how many times I think about it?”
This is the first line of Pope Francis’ new prayer video, released on July 3 and dedicated to his intention for the month.
While the video shows scenes of priests working in difficult situations, including war and disaster relief, Francis speaks in his native Spanish, saying, “Priests, with their virtues and flaws, work in many different areas”.
“Working on so many active fronts, they cannot remain inactive after a disappointment,” the pope said. And when those times come, it’s good for a pastor to remember “that people love their priests, need them, and trust them.”
The video then shows scenes of priests administering the sacraments, visiting the sick and speaking with parishioners.
After receiving a flower from an elderly woman, the priest featured in the video puts it in a vase inside his parish and prays as members of his congregation bring more flowers to add to the bouquet.
Francis ends the video by asking Catholics to join him in praying “that priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests”.
Pope Francis has often spoken of the need for consecrated persons to take care of their vocation both spiritually and temporally, especially when meeting priests and religious while traveling internationally.
His particular concern for priests who feel tired at work dates back to the beginning of his pontificate and is an issue he raised on several occasions.
In his homily for the Chrism Mass of Holy Week in 2015, the pope spoke directly to priests about exhaustion, saying, “the fatigue of priests! Do you know how many times I think about this weariness you all feel?
“I think about it and pray about it often, especially when I myself am tired,” he said, and admitted that he prays for every priest and his ministry, especially those who serve” in isolated and dangerous places”.
The fatigue of a holy priest who gives his life in service, Francis said during Mass, “is like incense rising silently to heaven. Our weariness goes straight to the heart of the Father.
Francis’ prayer intention for priests is part of the monthly “Pope Video” initiative, which is a project of the worldwide Jesuit prayer network Apostolate of Prayer.
The Apostleship of Prayer, which produces videos of the pope’s monthly prayer intentions, was founded by Jesuit seminarians in France in 1884 to encourage Christians to serve God and others through prayer, especially for the needs from the church.
Since the late 1800s, the organization has received a monthly Universal Intention from the Pope. In 1929, an additional missionary intention was added.
However, since last year, rather than including a missionary intention, Pope Francis has chosen to have only one prayer intention prepared – the universal intention presented in the prayer video – and will add a second intention for an urgent or immediate need, if applicable.
The videos are filmed in collaboration with the Vatican Television Center and mark the first time that the Roman Pontiff’s monthly prayer intentions have been presented on video.