Part of the observance of Holy Thursday Mass is a recognition of the institution of the priesthood by Christ. The Catholic Church's consecrated male priesthood is one of it's defining characteristics. Much has been written and said about the celibate life of the Roman Catholic priest, much of it slanderous, demeaning, and completely misunderstood.
Are priests human? Yes, they are and therefore they sin just like any of the rest of us. Sometimes their sin is unfathomable, despicable, and an absolute scandal to the Church, but to define the entire priesthood by the horrific sins of a few is absolutely unjustifiable. The vast majority of priests that have served our family are true men of God, wholeheartedly devoting their entire being to Christ and his Church. They are welcome into our home for family meals and celebrations and have been truly wonderful role models for our children, especially our sons.
Tonight, in our parish, some 20 boys will be vested by our devoted Monsignor as altar boys. The program in our parish is truly unique and I really do wish more parishes would adopt it. Becoming an altar boy is a serious endeavor and these boys take it very earnestly. The boys are trained during Lent before taking part in the vesting ceremony on Maundy Thursday. Honestly, there cannot be a better way of exposing our sons to the mystery that takes place on the altar than to have them serve at the altar as boys and young men. These boys may discover their own vocation while serving Mass. A few of these boys very well may be our future priests. What a blessing it is for them to serve in such an important way. God bless in a special way our priests, the priesthood, and altar boys tonight.