To pray for sanctification of priests, their perseverance and for spreading of worship and adoration of the Eucharist among the faithful - these are the main aims of the Community of adoring priests established recently in Slovakia. Its statute was officially approved by Mons. Stefan Secka, bishop of the Spis diocese. SIR Europe’s correspondent in Bratislava, Danka Jaceckova, has prepared an interview with one of the founders of the Community, prof. Ján Duda, judicial vicar and president of the Slovak Canon Law Society, in cooperation with the Press Office of the Bishops’conference of Slovakia.
When and where did the first impulse to establish the Community of adoring priests arise? “The idea to pray for sanctification of priest and for the goals specified in the Statute of the Community has come into being gradually, during discussions with priests on various occasions. The priests perceive problems and complexity related to announcing of the Gospel in contemporary world with intensity and vigilance. We can’t be indifferent in regard to attacks aimed to the person and the office of the Holy Father and to his bishops. We can’t be indifferent face to face with serious sins of some of our brothers in ministry who derogate the priestly status and make also the rest of priests seem less trustworthy. There are also our brothers in faith who cause wounds and problems to the Church and to the Holy Father from the inside. Therefore, we have decided to respond to all this with prayer and Eucharistic adoration, with humble plea for our own sanctification and fidelity to our ministry, as well as for the sanctification of all our brothers and for new priestly vocations. This decision of ours has turned into a concrete act of establishment of the Community of adoring priests and the founding document was signed by ten priests and one deacon of the Spis diocese. The membership is, of course, open to all other priests from any diocese in Slovakia. The decision was also influenced by the World Day of Prayers for Sanctification of Priests celebrated in June this year and supported by the Congregation for the clergy, headed by its president, cardinal Mauro Piacenza”.
Could you tell us more about the reasons for establishment of the Community, its aims and expectations? “As priests we ask ourselves questions related to stability and firmness of our priestly vocation and service, as well as to effectiveness of announcing of the Gospel in complexity of today’s world. We feel that these questions touch us personally, especially when we take into account that some of our brothers have experienced the crisis or even decided to leave their priestly ministry. We feel that it’s not always easy to execute our pastoral duties for the faithful, because our times contribute to creation of an atmosphere of mistrust towards the Church and towards pastoral service of priests. On the other side, we see an urgent need of spiritual depth and sanctity of priestly life, which can only be reached through the sacraments, prayer and adoration of Christ. Priestly life and work closely depend on the relationship with Christ, because we are only servants of our Lord and our priesthood means only a share on the unique priesthood of Christ. And what do we expect? We hope that God will grant us a strong will, endurance and fidelity in our ministry, to be able to follow Christ with faith and confidence, in spite of turbulencies of contemporary times”.
You are one of the founders of the Community. How could you describe the interest of other priests in membership? “Our point of view is not about quantity, it’s about quality. On the other side, we would be glad if our Community could grow in number by membership of more and more bishops, priests and deacons adoring the Eucharist. We already have some information about interest of the priests from the Banská Bystrica diocese and other dioceses in Slovakia, which is a good news. But - once again - it’s about quality, not quantity in the first place”. Members of the Community of adoring priests are obliged to pray every Thursday evening for the aims of the Community and to adore the Eucharist for several minutes every day. It’s recommended to worship the Most Holy Sacrament on the first Thursday of each month along with brothers in priestly ministry and to participate at the eucharistic congress on local/regional level.