Today, as we remember the life of St John Vianney, Anne O’Brien, Director of Mission at St Agnes’ Catholic Parish, uses the Gospel reading of the Feast day in the Proper of the Saints from Matthew (9:35-38 – 10:1) in which Jesus says, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few’.

After reading the Gospel, Anne notes that St John Vianney is the patron saint of Parish priests and so on this day we give special thanks for our Parish Priest, Fr Paul Gooley. He is an absolute blessing to St Agnes’ Catholic Parish.  Fr Paul connects with his parishioners; he shares the everyday stuff; building up relationships that truly support us in all that we do. He goes that extra mile ensuring that we feel valued and loved.  He always has special intentions in his homilies to draw us to the meaning and relativity of the story to our daily lives.  He has been giving us for a long time now, meaningful reflections every day, constantly nourishing us and sharing his knowledge.

In 1818, John Vianney was sent to be Parish Priest for an isolated village called Ars some distance from Lyon in France.  John remained there for the rest of his life because the parishioners would not let him leave. Knowing this feeling, we would not like to lose our Parish Priest either.

So today, we pray for all Parish Priests, but we especially pray for our Parish Priest, Fr Paul. We also pray for his assistants, Fr Roland, Fr Peter and deacon Prodencio. We are blessed to have these very caring and courageous men who work closely with us, who know us and love us.  We assure them today that we support and truly value them and ask our Lord Jesus to protect and to watch over their work.

Anne then concludes with a special prayer for priests:

Lord Jesus,
We, your people, pray to You for our priests. You have given them to us for our needs. We pray for them in their needs.  Let them see you face to face in the breaking of the Eucharistic Bread. St John Vianney, Patron of Priests, pray for us.
We make this prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.