Each of these men has acted as a witness to Christ's love and care for His people.
The COVID-19 pandemic has rocked the world, but many heroic priests have led Catholics through the crisis with ingenuity and determination to bring Christ to us in these difficult times. Whether coordinating drive-in Masses and confessions, blessing local neighborhoods with Eucharistic processions, learning to use new technology to share the Gospel and pray in community, or working with a team of volunteers to follow complex protocols for safety precautions at Mass, priests have responded and adjusted rapidly in order to share Christ’s message in unaccustomed ways.
Now Chicago’s University of Saint Mary of the Lake, also known as Mundelein Seminary, is making it a point to recognize and honor priests’ courageous and creative actions during the pandemic. The chosen recipient of the seminary’s annual “In Service of One Another” Catholic Humanitarian Award is “hero priests of the pandemic.” The website explains,
As COVID-19 has changed so much about the way we live in 2020, the Church has remained an essential source of hope, inspiration and support. Heroic priests across the country have answered the chaos of the pandemic with extraordinary creativity and resolve to continue serving as a bridge between Christ and his people. Mundelein Seminary is collectively honoring these priests with our 2020 In Service of One Another Catholic Humanitarian Award, and we need you to share the story of your priest with us. Fill out the brief questionnaire below on behalf of one of the #HeroPriests in your life and we will share his story on our website and social media. The award presentation will be streamed on our website on September 17.
The stories of hero priests are available to read on the seminary’s website, and each one is deeply moving.
There’s the priest who not only led a parish and school in adapting to the pandemic closures, but also continued to offer Mass online for his parishioners while battling COVID himself. There’s the priest who hosted twice-weekly Facebook Live conversations to update parishioners and share spiritual reflections, and another who led his flock in night prayer each evening.
There’s the priest who held drive-by confessions to give his flock ongoing access to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. There’s the priest who carried the Eucharist in a one-man procession up and down every block in the parish, twice! “When we couldn’t get to Mass, He brought Jesus to us, even in the snow and rain,” one of his parishioners said in submitting him for the award.
Many other stories tell of priests learning new tools, thinking creatively, and sacrificing themselves to serve their people. Each of these men is a witness to Christ-like love and fatherly care and self-sacrifice. They are examples to men and fathers everywhere, and indeed to all people seeking after God’s righteousness.