In Ecuador, on the Thursday before the Solemnity of Sacred Heart of Jesus, the feast of Jesus Christ, the Eternal and High Priest, is celebrated. We thought that it would be very good, taking advantage of the closeness of the two celebrations, to hold a prayer vigil in thanksgiving for the gift of the priesthood and praying for the sanctification of the priests. We called the initiative: "Priests with the Heart of Christ".
We got in touch with all the priests we could to invite them to join the celebration accompanied by their faithful. The names of Fr. Rafael, of all the priests of the diocese, of all the Servant Brothers, and priests close to the Home were also put on some papers so that whoever came could take a paper and make a commitment to pray for that priest throughout the year.
We began with a solemn Mass, accompanied by the singing of the seminarians of Guayaquil. After the Mass, we made a Holy Hour in which several priests gave a brief reflection connecting the Priesthood with the Eucharist, the Heart of Jesus, mercy, and Mary. We interspersed texts of the Holy Cure of Ars and made a litany of petitions for the priests. It seemed like we were in heaven.
At the end of the holy hour we began turns of Adoration that extended throughout the night. A particularly emotional moment was when a priest arrived and, kneeling at the entrance of the Church, made his way to the presbytery followed by all his faithful, also kneeling.
We were accompanied by different movements and parishes covering the different hours. The Servant Brothers did not stop confessing throughout the night. Each hour was offered for the Pope, bishops, Father Rafael, a community of Servant Brothers, a group of diocesan priests, and all the priests of a particular continent. The hour from 3 to 4 was offered for all those who had left the priesthood.
It was truly a gift, which filled us with joy and gratitude for so many holy priests who have been and are present in our lives. It also moved us to prayer so that the Sacred Heart of Jesus identifies each of them with Christ the Eternal High Priest.
May we be more grateful to the Lord each day for not having left us alone, and for allowing us to especially count on His presence thanks to priests who generously give their lives so that others may “have life.”