April 2022

Meditations for priests


Preaching the Word serves to strengthen faith in souls (Blessed Paolo Manna)

Priestly Identity and Mission: The Proclamation of God’s Word

From the Letter to the Romans

“But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach?
And how can people preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring [the] good news!”
But not everyone has heeded the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what was heard from us?”
Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.” (Rom 10:14-17)

From the Magisterium of the Catholic Church

“In the measure in which they participate in the office of the apostles, God gives priests a special grace to be ministers of Christ among the people. They perform the sacred duty of preaching the Gospel.” (Second Vatican Council, Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests, Presbyterorum Ordinis, 2)

“The People of God are joined together primarily by the word of the living God. And rightfully they expect this from their priests. Since no one can be saved who does not first believe, priests, as co-workers with their bishops, have the primary duty of proclaiming the Gospel of God to all. In this way they fulfill the command of the Lord: ‘Going therefore into the whole world preach the Gospel to every creature’” (Second Vatican Council, Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests, Presbyterorum Ordinis, 4)

“First, we would point out in the pages of the Gospel the insistence with which the Lord entrusts to the apostles the task of proclaiming the Word. He chose them, trained them during several years of intimate company, constituted and sent them out as authorized witnesses and teachers of the message of salvation. And the Twelve in their turn sent out their successors who, in the apostolic line, continue to preach the Good News.” (Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 66)

What identifies our priestly service, gives a profound unity to the thousand and one tasks which claim our attention day by day and throughout our lives, and confers a distinct character on our activities, is this aim, ever present in all our action: to proclaim the Gospel of God. A mark of our identity which no doubts ought to encroach upon and no objection eclipse is this: as pastors, we have been chosen by the mercy of the Supreme Pastor, in spite of our inadequacy, to proclaim with authority the Word of God.” (Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 68)

“Let us renew our confidence in preaching, based on the conviction that it is God who seeks to reach out to others through the preacher, and that he displays his power through human words.” (Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation on the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World, Evangelii Gaudium, 136)

“Not only the homily has to be nourished by the word of God. All evangelization is based on that word, listened to, meditated upon, lived, celebrated and witnessed to. The sacred Scriptures are the very source of evangelization. Consequently, we need to be constantly trained in hearing the word. The Church does not evangelize unless she constantly lets herself be evangelized.” (Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation on the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World, Evangelii Gaudium, 174)

From the Writings of Blessed Father Paolo Manna

“We must feel the spirit of our common divine vocation in us as Jesus Christ’s apostles. Just as the apostles in a remote corner of Galilee received one day from Our Lord the divine mandate to go and preach the Gospel to the peoples, so you, my beloved, at this solemn hour, will receive the mandate to continue the work of those first fortunate people.” (P. Manna, Chiamati alla santità, Naples 1977, p. 235)

“We must also take into account the effect made upon many minds by years and years of Christian preaching, which has resulted in introducing into many circles a nobler and higher idea of religion. Many pagans have come to understand that their religions, which have no solid foundation in truth, are lacking moreover in vitality, in a sense of freedom and deliverance, and do not offer comfort to the soul nor satisfy the heart.”

(P. Manna, The conversion of the pagan world. A Treatise upon Catholic Foreign Missions,

translated and adapted from the Italian of rev. Paolo Manna,  M. Ap. by rev. Joseph F. McGlinchey, d.d., Boston, Society for the propagation of the Faith 1921, p. 59)

“And not only must we reflect inwardly in order for our ministry to be worthy of the Gospel: we must seek to make ourselves, to the extent possible, more worthy of the immense task which our Lord, through His Church has entrusted to us.” (P. Manna, Apostolic Virtues, translated from Italian by Fr. Steve Baumbusch, PIME, New York 2009, [P. Manna, Virtù Apostoliche, Milan 1944, p. 19])

Questions for Reflection

  • To what extent do I remember that, among my various activities, my first task as a priest is to preach the Word of God?
  • How do I prepare sermons, homilies and catechesis? Is their preparation accompanied by prayer?
  • How is my personal relationship with the Word of God? How much time do I spend each day meditating or reading the Scriptures?


God of eternal truth, we believe in You.
God, our strength and our salvation, we trust in You.
God of infinite goodness, we love You with all our heart.
You sent Your Word for the salvation of the world, make us all one in Him.
Fill us with the Spirit of your Son that we may praise your name.


Holy Father, you so loved the world that you sent your only Son, anointing him with the Holy Spirit and power, so that he can save every person and all humanity.

Through his death and resurrection, you gave life to the world
and saved us from the power of Satan.

As you sent him, O good Father, so he sent us,
so that we can continue his work at any time to the ends of the earth.

We confess, righteous Father, that we are incapable of fulfilling such a great mission, unless you yourself clothe us with the Power from heaven.

Give us your Word that goes deep into our heart
and so we boldly proclaim salvation in the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Holy Spirit, come into each of us.

Fill us with Your strength that we may be effective collaborators with Jesus Christ in the salvation of the world.

You are the One who touches hearts to convert and announce Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Only you renew the face of the earth and change hearts.

Come, Holy Spirit, and create a God’s family that calls God “Abba, Father.”


(Jose. H. Prado Flores)


for consecrated


Chastity elevates the missionaries to the world, and makes them shine in their self-giving to others (Blessed Paolo Manna)

The missionary dimension of chastity in the consecrated life

From the Gospel of Matthew and from the first book of Chronicles

“Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.” (Mt 5:8)

“As for you, (...), my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and a willing soul, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the mind’s thoughts. If you search for him, he will be found; but if you abandon him, he will cast you off forever.” (1Chr 28:9)

From the Magisterium of the Catholic Church

“The chastity ‘for the sake of the kingdom of heaven’ (Matt. 19:12) which religious profess should be counted an outstanding gift of grace. It frees the heart of man in a unique fashion (cf. 1 Cor. 7:32-35) so that it may be more inflamed with love for God and for all men. Thus it not only symbolizes in a singular way the heavenly goods but also the most suitable means by which religious dedicate themselves with undivided heart to the service of God and the works of the apostolate.” (Second Vatican Council, Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life, Perfectae Caritatis, 12)

“The chastity of celibates and virgins, as a manifestation of dedication to God with an undivided heart (cf. 1 Cor 7:32-34), is a reflection of the infinite love which links the three Divine Persons in the mysterious depths of the life of the Trinity, the love to which the Incarnate Word bears witness even to the point of giving his life, the love “poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Rom 5:5), which evokes a response of total love for God and the brethren.” (John Paul II, Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Consecrated Life and Its Mission in the Church and in the World, Vita Consecrata, 21)

From the writings of Blessed Father Paolo Manna

“Chastity elevates the missionary in the eyes of non-believers, makes him, in a sense, greater than others.” (P. Manna, “Il Vincolo”, V [November 1933], n. 13, s. 38)

“The missionary Sister, besides being an example of the rehabilitation of her sex, also offers to the pagan world in which she lives a most vivid example and a most impressive picture of two virtues which that world does not know even by name – virginity and charity.” (P. Manna, The conversion of the pagan world. A Treatise upon Catholic Foreign Missions, translated and adapted from the Italian of rev. Paolo Manna, M. Ap. by rev. Joseph F. McGlinchey, d.d., Boston, Society for the propagation of the Faith 1921, p. 172)

“Virginity as a virtue is a revelation to the pagan world, which sees in woman no other beauty but that upon which the eyes feast and which gives them only an aesthetic impression arousing the consequent animal instincts.” (P. Manna, The conversion of the pagan world. A Treatise upon Catholic Foreign Missions, p. 172)

“How fascinating is the new beauty of this virgin who is consecrated to an idea, who renounces the slightest freedom of the senses, thus guarding most zealously that priceless pearl her chastity; who is deeply engrossed in the mystery of the soul, permeated by the breath of a new life, transported in the ecstasy of a divine reality that transforms her and reflects in her very eyes and her countenance the purity and the beauty of an angel!” (P. Manna, The conversion of the pagan world. A Treatise upon Catholic Foreign Missions, p. 172)

Questions for reflection

  • How maturely am I living my being as a man or a woman?
  • Do I live with freedom and love, without being afraid of healthy relationships with the opposite sex?
  • In what areas is my heart not fully united with God?


O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
did prepare a worthy dwelling place for Your Son,
and by the merits of Christ’s death, you did preserve Her from all sins,
free us from all concupiscence and grant us to come to You and to serve You without sin.

Through Christ, your Son, our Lord.


Lord Jesus, I am yours/all yours – made in your image. I am even more like You through Baptism and Confirmation. You gave me the body as a noble instrument of my soul. You have made it strong so that it will grow and mature. O Lord, continue to protect me. Save my heart from staying away from You. May I, assisted with Your grace, do all things with You.


Saint Joseph, guardian of the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary have been entrusted to your faithful care. For this double treasure entrusted to you, please guard me from all unrighteousness and help me so that I may always serve Jesus and Mary with an innocent heart and in purity of life.



for the laity


The Role of Women is of great help for Mission! (Blessed Paolo Manna)

The Role of Women in Mission

From the Gospel of Luke

“Afterward he journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.” (Lk 8:1-3)

From the Magisterium of the Catholic Church

“The laity carry out their manifold apostolate both in the Church and in the world. (...) Since in our times women have an ever more active shale in the whole life of society, it is very important that they participate more widely also in the various fields of the Church’s apostolate.” (Second Vatican. Council, Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, Apostolicam Actuositatem, 9)

“The awareness that women with their own gifts and tasks have their own specific vocation, has increased and been deepened in the years following the Council and has found its fundamental inspiration in the Gospel and the Church's history.” (John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World, Christifideles Laici, 49)

“The personal resources of femininity are certainly no less than the resources of masculinity: they are merely different. Hence a woman, as well as a man, must understand her ‘fulfilment’ as a person, her dignity and vocation, on the basis of these resources, according to the richness of the femininity which she received on the day of creation and which she inherits as an expression of the ‘image and likeness of God’ that is specifically hers.” (John Paul II, Apostolic Letter on the Dignity and Vocation of Women, Mulieris Dignitatem, 10)

Christ’s way of acting, the Gospel of his words and deeds, is a consistent protest against whatever offends the dignity of women. Consequently, the women who are close to Christ discover themselves in the truth which he ‘teaches’ and ‘does’, even when this truth concerns their ‘sinfulness’. They feel ‘liberated’ by this truth, restored to themselves: they feel loved with ‘eternal love’, with a love which finds direct expression in Christ himself.” (John Paul II, Apostolic Letter on the Dignity and Vocation of Women, Mulieris Dignitatem, 15)

“The Church acknowledges the indispensable contribution which women make to society through the sensitivity, intuition and other distinctive skill sets which they, more than men, tend to possess. I think, for example, of the special concern which women show to others, which finds a particular, even if not exclusive, expression in motherhood. I readily acknowledge that many women share pastoral responsibilities with priests, helping to guide people, families and groups and offering new contributions to theological reflection. But we need to create still broader opportunities for a more incisive female presence in the Church. Because “the feminine genius is needed in all expressions in the life of society, the presence of women must also be guaranteed in the workplace” and in the various other settings where important decisions are made, both in the Church and in social structures.” (Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation on the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World, Evangelii Gaudium, 103)

From the writings of Blessed Father Paolo Manna

“If we admit the truth, we must confess that three- fourths of the material support of the Catholic apostolate comes through the zeal of women. This apostolate of women began in the time of Our Lord.”

(P. Manna, The conversion of the pagan world. A Treatise upon Catholic Foreign Missions, translated and adapted from the Italian of rev. Paolo Manna, M. Ap. by rev. Joseph F. McGlinchey, d.d., Boston, Society for the propagation of the Faith 1921, p. 209)

“In the last century the participation of women in the propagation of the Faith has been more intense and active than ever before. We shall not mention the thousands of Sisters, truly noble heroines, who have dedicated their whole lives to the apostolate of the missions, for we have already spoken of them at length. We shall confine our remarks to the co-operation given by our women at home. The queen of all works of co-operation in the apostolate the Propagation of the Faith Society was the creation of women; and just as it was founded by them (...) Then there is that other worthy institution, the Sodality of St. Peter Claver for the African Missions. This also is due to the zeal of a noble Polish woman, the Countess Maria Teresa Ledochowska.” (P. Manna, The conversion of the pagan world. A Treatise upon Catholic Foreign Missions, pp. 209-210)

“In missionary propaganda women have an ability, a perseverance, a faith, and a love that overcome all difficulties and accomplish wonderful results.” (P. Manna, The conversion of the pagan world. A Treatise upon Catholic Foreign Missions, p.211)

“To win women to the cause of the missions is to render an inestimable service to the Church. Women, naturally more sympathetic and pious than men, born to love and to sacrifice, cultivate Christian charity almost as an instinct of their sex. They can become valuable auxiliaries of the apostolate and can pre pare for the Church generations of apostles, by in stilling into the tender hearts of our children deep sympathy for the pagans and fervent zeal for their salvation.” (P. Manna, The conversion of the pagan world. A Treatise upon Catholic Foreign Missions, p. 214)

Questions for reflection

  • To what extent have I found my place as a woman in the Church and in the work of evangelization?
  • Do I thank God for my femininity?
  • What qualities - gifts - of femininity has God granted me and how can I put them at the service of the Church?


WOMEN TO WHOM YOU GIVEN LIFE, those who believed in love. Moved by your powerful inner strength, they appear to us as vigilant, courageous women who are not afraid of difficulties. Let this dynamism that comes from their faith fill our lives.
SARAH, wonderful mother, bearer of the “child’s smile,” may your presence accompany us on our journey so that the fruits of the covenant we have made may ripen (Gn 18:10).
HAGAR, our sister who named the Lord as “God who sees me,” be with us in difficult moments, and help us to walk the paths of hope (Gn 16:13).
MIRIAM, You who keep watch with love [during the night of Exodus], singing fervently of the freedom you have found, lead us through our deserts on a new path that will make us a people faithful to God (Ex 2:1-10)
HULDAH, prescient prophet, grant us the gift of clear vision so that we can confidently advance into the new world (2Kgs 22:14; 2Chr 34:22-28).
RUTH AND NAOMI, bound by the promise, teach us to form strong bonds with each other, which will be like seeds foreshadowing the harvest.
ESTHER, great queen whose plea has been answered, help us to become immaculate, so that our authority and influence can protect the lives of our people.
MARY OF NAZARETH, our sister, friend and mother, woman endowed with an extraordinary grace in whom the Lord was pleased, sustain our strength to love so that we may announce the promise of the coming of your Son.
WOMAN AFFLICTED WITH HEMORRHAGES, mixed in the crowd in search of healing, opens our hearts to welcome those who shyly but hopefully ask for our help (Mk 5:25-34; Lk 8:43-48; Mt 9:20-22).
CANAANITE WOMAN, full of dignity and faith in the encounter with Jesus, teach us to nourish our interiority every minute with the Word, gestures and hospitality.
WOMAN ANOINTING THE FEET OF THE MASTER, who broke the barriers of tradition to approach Jesus in the freedom of a child; inspire us to establish new relationships with people to build God’s Kingdom (Lk 7:37-46; Mk 14:3-9; Mt 26:6-13).

WOMAN WHO LISTENS TO JESUS with all herself and attentive, remind us of the hidden opportunities within us that can always re-emerge despite our limitations (Lk 13:10-17).
WOMEN AT THE WELL, who want to receive living water, enliven us in times of discouragement and encourage us to seek the light within our own wells (Jn 4:1-42).
WOMEN OF THE CROWD, who were not afraid to be different and shout the truth, give us the courage to speak out despite opposition (Lk 11:27-28).
MARY MAGDALENE, our sister freed from seven demons, you gave yourself completely to Jesus as a beloved bride, stay with us to fight the demons that prevent us from preaching the Word of God with power and conviction.
MARY, MOTHER OF JOHN AND MARK, thanks to your commitment you did not fear difficulties and you served the early Church with trust, show us how to live with the same faith without being afraid to take the necessary risks (Acts 12:11-17).
ANONYMOUS DAUGHTERS OF PHILIP, totally dedicated to the prophetic mission, teach us to be more attentive to the signs of the times in our daily life (Act 21:8-14).
WOMEN IN THE UPPER ROOM, who together with Mary have received the Holy Spirit, give us the strength to announce the glory of the Lord in every corner of the world (Acts 1:12-14; 2:1-18).
WOMEN OF COVENANT, MOTHERS AND WIVES, SISTERS AND DAUGHTERS, WIDOWS AND PROPHETS, WOMEN OF THE EARLY CHURCH, brave and so different in age, background and gifts received, come and walk with us on the path of faith, help us to open our hearts to faith, receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
POOR WIDOW, who gave everything you had for your sustenance into the treasury, help us free ourselves from our human security and place all hope in the Lord.

Hail Mary…

We thank you, O God, good Father, for the love you give us.

You have created us in your image and likeness as man and woman, so that, different from one another, we may complete one another. We thank you for the gift of each woman and for the mission entrusted to them throughout the world. Amen.