Praised be Christ the Priest! Around the world there is a growing awareness of this important title of Our Lord: Jesus is our Eternal High Priest! The Letter to the Hebrews speaks of this title, parishes and schools and two groups of Priests and Brothers are named after it. There is an official Christ the Priest feast day, a Litany to Christ the Priest made famous by Pope John Paul II, a new Novena to Christ the Priest, and soon there will be statues in honour of Christ the Priest.

LiturgyNovenaLitanyHistory
Christ the Priest Garden

Why did we choose this title of Our Lord?

The members of the Confraternity of Christ the Priest delight in the title of their society. According to church legislation each order must have its own distinctive name. When our society was being planned, one title naturally suggested itself. The new order should be known as the society of Christ the Priest.

We chose that title out of hundreds because it would draw the attention of all who heard it to Jesus Christ the Priest, Whose work the society was to continue on earth and Who was to be the model of each member.

The Son of God became a man in order to become a priest. By offering a sacrifice to God on behalf of the human race, He gained salvation, opened heaven, and won grace and blessings for all men. The victim, which Christ the Priest offered in sacrifice, was Himself, His human body and soul, His life.

Few people, even among good Catholics, realize the fact that Jesus Christ was a priest. Our society aims to remind the world of that fact. It aims to honour and praise Our Lord’s Priesthood and it aims to bring more and more people to love Christ the Priest and to be grateful to Him.

Again, the members of the new society were to model their lives, their work, their outlook on Christ the Priest. He went about doing good, so should they. He welcomed children, the poor, the hungry, the sick, the sinner, they too are to welcome everyone. He spent himself without reserve, preaching, instructing, praying, working for souls till He fell exhausted, so busy that some days He did not have time for meals, they were to lead the same life. He went out after the lost sheep, they were to search after the straying to lead all to heaven. His work was to make men think of God, so was theirs. He sacrificed Himself, they also were to sacrifice themselves for God and souls.

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A Brief History of the Liturgy of Christ the Eternal High Priest

Most Catholics around the world are unfamiliar with Our Blessed Lord’s title, “Christ the Eternal High Priest”, and yet, each year, millions of people already celebrate this title as an official Liturgical Feast in the Church!

The Feast of Christ the Priest, or “Fiesta de Cristo Summo y Eterna Sacerdote” is celebrated with great joy in Spain, many Latin-American countries, and in the Australian founded Confraternity of Christ the Priest, and is on the brink of spreading many more places. The Vatican has given official approval for the celebration with its own texts for Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours.

When the Feast of Christ the King was made a celebration for the whole world, Pope Pius XI wrote,

“For people are instructed in the truths of faith, and brought to appreciate the inner joys of religion far more effectually by the annual celebration of our sacred mysteries than by any official pronouncement of the teaching of the Church.
Such pronouncements usually reach only a few and the more learned among the faithful; feasts reach them all; the former speak but once, the latter speak every year –  in fact, forever.” (Quas Primas 21, Pius XI 1925)

But how do new Feasts begin in the Church, and where did this special Feast begin?
For a new Feast, four things are needed: Doctrine, Devotion, Determination, and a Decree.
DOCTRINE

Feasts express Church doctrines (teachings) which are unchanging but ever more deeply understood.

The Priesthood of Jesus is found in the Bible -Sacred Scripture- foreshadowed in the Old Testament and made clear in the New.

OLD TESTAMENT

In the Old Testament we read about:

  • The Sacrifices of Adam, Noah, Abraham and Moses which prefigure the Priest and Victim of the New Covenant.
  • Isaac carrying wood up a hill, like Jesus carrying His Cross.
  • Moses interceding for the Israelites, with hands outstretched, like Jesus on the Cross, like the Priest at Mass.
  • The blood of bulls and sheep and goats of the Old Testament, pointing to  the Blood of the perfect Victim, offered by the perfect Priest.
  • “He was pierced for our offences, crushed for our sins, upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed.” (Is 53:5-7)
  • “For from the rising of the sun, even to its setting, My name is great among the nations; and everywhere they bring sacrifice to My name, and a pure offering; for great is My name among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 1:11)

NEW TESTAMENT

  • St John the Baptist, a priest of the Old Testament, points to Jesus, as if on behalf of all the Old Testament priests, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God!”
  • And on behalf of the Old Testament priests, he says, “He must increase, I must decrease.”
  • In the New Testament, the Letter to the Hebrews tells us that Jesus Christ is the Compassionate High Priest, who offers His own Blood for us, on the Cross and into the Heavenly Sanctuary.
    “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God …let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.” (Hebrews 4:14-16)
  • In Romans we hear how we are all called to live our Royal Priesthood:
    “Therefore I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship.” (Rom 12:1)
  • St Peter writes,
    “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises” of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Pet 2:9)

DEVOTION and DOCUMENTS

Many Saints have written about the Priesthood of Christ and in recent years this has been a common theme in Church documents.

Notably in 1652, St John Eudes in France wrote a Mass and Divine Office in honour of “The Priesthood of Christ  and of all priests and levites”, <<L’office du Bienheureux en l’honneur du Sacerdoce de Jésus-Christ et des saints Prêtres et Lévites>>.

This feast was celebrated in the Eudists, and in several French dioceses, including Rouen. The first date for the celebration was on November 15 1653, in the major seminary of Coutances. The date for the feast was later changed to November 13. The Priests of St Sulpice chose to celebrate the feast on August 30, then July 17 or another day during the scholastic year approved by the Bishop.

When the Benedictines of the Blessed Sacrament followed the Sulpicians in adopting the Feast, they moved the celebration to Thursday following the Octave of Corpus Christi. The Feast was celebrated in several dioceses of France until the middle of the 19th Century.

This form of the Feast focussed on Our Lord and on ordained priests, but not on the royal priesthood of the baptised, a development which would come later. It largely disappeared with reforms of the liturgy early in the 20th century. But soon things began to happen that would result in the Feast making a comeback!

Pope Pius XI December 20, 1935, end of his encyclical called Ad catholici Sacerdotii:

“We wish to perpetuate  the memory and the glory of that Priesthood, of which that of all priests of Christ is but a participation and continuation… We have thought it opportune, after consulting the Sacred Congregation of Rites, to prepare a special votive Mass, for Thursdays, according to liturgical rules: to honour “Jesus Christ, Supreme and Eternal Priest.” It is Our pleasure and consolation to publish this Mass together with this, Our Encyclical Letter.” (91)

Pius XII wrote in his encyclical Mediator Dei,

“the priesthood of Jesus Christ is a living and continuous reality through all the ages to the end of time, since the liturgy is nothing more nor less than the exercise of this priestly function…  all Christians should possess, as far as is humanly possible, the same dispositions as those which the divine Redeemer had when He offered Himself in sacrifice… Let the souls of Christians be like altars.”

Showing the growing relevance of devotion to Christ the Priest, one of the most important documents of the Second Vatican Council was Lumen Gentium.

In Paragraph 10 the Church described the priesthood of Jesus and how it is participated in by the baptised and the ordained, and then explained how the baptised live their royal priesthood:

“Though they differ from one another in essence and not only in degree, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood are nonetheless interrelated: each of them in its own special way is a participation in the one priesthood of Christ.
    …But the faithful, in virtue of their royal priesthood, join in the offering of the Eucharist. They likewise exercise that priesthood in receiving the sacraments, in prayer and thanksgiving, in the witness of a holy life, and by self-denial and active charity.”

Another important Vatican II document was Sacrosanctum Concilium. It reminded us that

“…every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of His Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others”

St John Paul II wrote in Pastores Dabo Vobis,

“The priest is a living and transparent image of Christ the Priest. The priesthood of Christ…constitutes the one source and essential model of the priesthood shared by all Christians and the priest in particular. Reference to Christ is thus the absolutely necessary key for understanding the reality of priesthood… The new priestly people which is the Church not only has its authentic image in Christ, but also receives from him a real ontological share in his one eternal priesthood, to which she must conform every aspect of her life.” (12,13)

Recent promotion of the Feast of Christ the Priest:

A key figure in the modern history of the Feast of Christ the Priest is Venerable Monsignor Jose Maria Garcia Lahiguera of Spain. He lived from March 9, 1903 to July 14, 1989. His heroic virtues were recognized by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, approved by Pope Benedict XVI, on June 27, 2011

Fr Jose Maria founded the Oblate Sisters of Christ the Priest in Spain, and is buried at their motherhouse in Madrid.

As a newly Consecrated Bishop Jose Maria and Foundress Mother Maria del Carmen requested His Holiness Pope Pius XII the grace to be able to celebrate the liturgy proper to the feast of Jesus High and Eternal Priest every year. The Holy See granted this privilege on June 25, 1952. The Liturgical Feast of Christ the Priest was once again celebrated in Spain in 1953, on April 25 – anniversary of the Oblates’ foundation.
At the Second Vatican Council, October 25 1965, giving an address during the preparation of the schema on priests, Jose Maria proposed the institution of the Feast of Christ the Priest, “as a liturgical monument of the Council” (como monumento liturgico). This proposal was endorsed by 194 Council Fathers, of whom five were Cardinals. It was not quite enough.

Bishop Jose Maria did not stop working to spread the Feast. In April 1972, he forwarded the text of the Feast to all the Spanish bishops, recommending that the Spanish Episcopate ask Rome to include the Feast in the national liturgical calendar.

Rome gave approval on August 22, 1973, fixing the official date as the Thursday after Pentecost, following the previous French date of Thursday after the Octave of Corpus Christi. In June 6 1974, all Spain celebrated the Feast day of Christ the Eternal High Priest for the first time.
In his diary he wrote,

“… It was the first Thursday of the month. My presentation was guided by my Holy Spirit.
“At the end, after half an hour, (so they tell me) the bishops applauded enthusiastically, affectionately. I remained unmoved and vanity did not touch me in the least. I saw so clearly it was the work of the Lord and Mother!”
 “The following day, the “Yes, Feast!” vote was so abundant that it could be considered morally unanimous. Again the bishops applauded without my expecting this (I didn’t expect it the day before either. Both times I was overwhelmed).
“As I thought that they were applauding the results, I started to applaud Christ the Priest as well. They laughed at my clapping, because, again unexpectedly, it was me they were applauding.”
“Finally, day 7, the first Saturday, I gave thanks to my Three (the Blessed Trinity), to my Christ the Priest, and to Mother. The impression I feel inside is that of having accomplished my mission on earth, which makes me want to sing my thanks for:  fullness of priesthood, the Congregation of the Oblate Sisters of Christ the Priest, and the Feast of Christ the Eternal High Priest.  But: I have fought the good fight, I have run the race, I have kept the faith. Come, Lord Jesus, Come.”

The Feast of Christ the Priest then spread from Spain to Chile, Uruguay, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Peru and Honduras, which has a Major Seminary called Christ the High Priest Seminary, and to other Spanish speaking countries.

The Confraternity and the Feast of Christ the Priest

Unaware of the Spanish developments, members of the Confraternity also longed for a feast of Christ the Priest. An early member wrote in our earliest days, “I think nothing but good could come from spreading devotion to (Our Lord) under this glorious title of Christ the Priest.”

This prayer expresses well our deepest devotion to Christ in His priesthood:

“My Lord Jesus Christ, you have been constituted Eternal High Priest by the Blessed Trinity for the glory of the Divine majesty and the salvation of the human race.  I come now to give myself entirely to you.  I want to be utterly yours so that you may conform me to yourself as perfectly as possible.  Unite me to yourself in your Office as priest and include me in your oblation of yourself as Victim to the Eternal Father. Eternal Priest infuse into me the spirit of your Priesthood.  O Jesus, take our institute under your special protection – in return we will everywhere sing your praises, O Eternal Priest.”

For many years we wrote articles in Catholic papers and magazines, preached sermons and appealed to Bishops. Despite some criticism, many people helped us petition Rome for the Feast of Christ the Priest. Finally we received the good news.

As the letter accompanying the decree explained, the Confraternity’s form of the Feast was mostly taken from the Spanish, but with “some parts proper to your Confraternity”.
What were these differences? Following the previous forms in France and in the Votive Mass, the Spanish text focused more on the Ministerial Priesthood, whereas the Confraternity text also mentioned the Royal Priesthood, and included texts from Vatican II.

New Developments!

It is the longing of the Confraternity of Christ the Priest to see this become a Universal Feast in the Church, and it may happen sooner than we expect!

We have been praying and working for this in many ways, in the Diocese of Wagga Wagga, and meetings with Bishops and Cardinals in the Philippines, Hong Kong and India. We are also spreading the devotion through the Novena to Christ the Priest and the statues which have reached ten countries.

An answer to our prayers came when Antonio Cañizares Llovera, as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, announced that he would ask Pope Benedict to extend the Feast of Christ the Eternal High Priest to the Universal Church. Pope Benedict acted to bring out a definitive version of the Feast in Latin from which new translations could be produced in other languages. Here is the decree from 2012 when the Latin editio typica was promulgated:

Our Lord Jesus Christ, The Eternal High Priest

Feast Thursday after Pentecost

DECREE

To ensure more effectively that the grace of the Year of the Priest might endure for a longer time among the People of God, the Supreme Pontiff BENEDICT XVI graciously provided that liturgical formularies for the celebration of Our Lord Jesus Christ, The Eternal High Priest should be prepared, to be offered for the use of the individual Conferences of Bishops that request them.
This Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, by virtue of the special faculties granted by the same Supreme Pontiff, willingly approves and declares to be typical the Latin text of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, and the Roman Martyrology relating to OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE ETERNAL HIGH PRIEST as they appear in the attached exemplar.
All things to the contrary notwithstanding.
From the offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 23 July 2012.
ANTONIO Card. CAÑIZARES LLOVERA
Prefect
Rev. Msgr. JUAN MIGUEL FERRER GRENESCHE
Undersecretary
CONGREGATIO DE CULTU DIVINO
ET DISCIPLINA SACRAMENTORUM
Prot. n. 1040/11/L

The Latin version was sent to English speaking Bishops around the world including Australia along with a draft English version. The final English text was approved in 2016, via the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.

With God’s help, we pray that we will soon see the Feast of Christ the Priest celebrated every year around the world.

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Litany of Jesus Christ Priest and Victim

(This prayer was prayed in Latin by Saint Pope John Paul II as a seminarian in Cracow, and often in later life as well.)

Lord, have mercy.   R. Lord, have mercy.
Christ have mercy.   R. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.   R. Lord, have mercy.
Christ hear us.   R. Christ, hear us.
Christ graciously hear us.  R. Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven, R.                                          R. have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, R.
God the Holy Spirit, R.
Holy Trinity, one God, R.

Jesus, Priest and Victim, R.      R. have mercy on us.
Jesus, Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek, R.
Jesus, Priest whom God sent to evangelize the poor, R.
Jesus, Priest who at the Last Supper instituted the everlasting Sacrifice, R.
Jesus, Priest always living to intercede for us, R.

Jesus, High Priest anointed by the Father
with the Holy Spirit and with power,  R.                        R. have mercy on us.
Jesus, High Priest taken from among men, R.
Jesus, High Priest appointed on behalf of men, R.
Jesus, High Priest of our confession of faith, R.
Jesus, High Priest of a greater glory than Moses, R.
Jesus, High Priest of the true tabernacle, R.
Jesus, High Priest of the good things to come, R.
Jesus, High Priest, holy, innocent and undefiled, R.
Jesus, High Priest, faithful and merciful, R.
Jesus, High Priest of God and on fire with zeal for souls, R.
Jesus, High Priest, perfect forever, R.
Jesus, High Priest, who passed through the heavens with your own Blood, R.
Jesus, High Priest, who opened a new way for us, R.
Jesus, High Priest, who loved us and washed us from our sins in your Blood, R.
Jesus, High Priest, you offered yourself as an oblation and victim to God, R.

Jesus, Victim of God and of men, R.                               R. have mercy on us.
Jesus, Victim, holy and immaculate, R.
Jesus, appeasing Victim, R.
Jesus, peace-making Victim, R.
Jesus, Victim of propitiation and of praise, R.
Jesus, Victim of reconciliation and of peace, R.
Jesus, Victim in whom we have confidence and access to God, R.
Jesus, Victim living forever and ever, R.

Be merciful!    R. Spare us, O Jesus.
Be merciful!    R. Graciously hear us, O Jesus.

By your eternal priesthood, R.                                          R. deliver us, 0 Jesus.
By your holy anointing, you were constituted Priest
by God the Father, R.
By your priestly spirit, R.
By your ministry, you glorified your Father upon earth, R.
By your bloody immolation of yourself made once upon the Cross, R.
By your same Sacrifice renewed daily upon the altar, R.
By your divine power, which you invisibly exercise in your priests, R.

Graciously preserve the entire priestly order in holiness of life,     R. We beseech you, hear us.
Graciously provide for your people pastors after your own heart, R.
Graciously fill them with the spirit of your priesthood, R.
Graciously grant that the lips of priests may hold knowledge, R.
Graciously send faithful laborers into your harvest, R.
Graciously multiply faithful stewards of your mysteries, R.
Graciously grant them persevering service in accordance with your will, R.
Graciously grant them meekness in the ministry,
skill in action and constancy, in prayer, R.
Graciously promote through them everywhere
the worship of the Blessed Sacrament R.
Graciously receive into your joy those who have served you well, R.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
R. spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
R. graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
R. have mercy on us, O Lord.
Jesus our Priest, R. hear us.
Jesus our Priest, R. graciously hear us.

LET US PRAY,

O God,
sanctifier and guardian of your Church,
raise up in her by your Spirit
worthy and faithful stewards of the sacred mysteries,
that by their ministry and example,
the Christian people may be directed
along the way of salvation under your protection.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord. R. Amen.

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Novena in honor of Our Compassionate High Priest

Jesus is our Compassionate High Priest, as the Bible beautifully tells us. We share in Our Lord’s Priesthood by baptism and ordination. This is an incredible Mystery! Jesus offered Himself up in our place, He continues to intercede for us in Heaven, and He calls us to give ourselves with Him as a gift truly pleasing to the Father. But how often do we thank and praise Our Lord for being our High Priest and Victim?

This Novena is one way to show our gratitude, and to meditate on His Priesthood. If you are suffering, this Novena can help you to be more united with Jesus in His Victimhood. It is also a beautiful way to pray for Priests. It can be prayed any time of the year, but especially in the nine days leading up to the Feast of Christ the Priest, celebrated on the first Thursday after Pentecost. (Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments Prot. N. 196/87, Prot. N. CD. 501/91)

May the Immaculate Heart of Mary lead all who pray this Novena to imitate her self-offering in union with her Divine Son.

Cum permissu: Most Rev. Gerard Hanna DD
Bishop of Wagga Wagga Australia July 14, 2010
Bible texts from New American Bible

1. Opening Prayer

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Leader:  

Father, for Your glory and our salvation You appointed Jesus Christ eternal High Priest. May the people He gained for You by His blood come to share in the power of His cross and resurrection through taking part in this remembrance of His priesthood. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

(from the Liturgy of the Hours for the Feast of Christ the Priest)

Pause to call to mind the intentions for which you are offering this Novena.

2. Daily Reading and Meditation

Day One – Our Compassionate High Priest

Reader:

Heb 5:1-2, 7

Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset by weakness. In the days when he was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.

Together:

Dear Jesus, Our Compassionate High Priest, You know our sufferings, our temptations and our weakness, and Your Sacred Heart burns with love for us. You know our thirst, and You thirst for our love in return. On our behalf, You cried out from the Cross, “My God, My God, why have You abandoned me?”

But, Compassionate Saviour, You share with us Your great confidence, “For God… did not turn away from me, but heard me when I cried out. I will offer praise in the great assembly.” (Psalm 22) We hear You say to us, “Come to Me, all you who are overburdened.” Eternal High Priest, we trust in You!

Reader:

Hebrews 4:14-16

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

Day Two – Priest and Victim

Reader:

Is 53:5-7

He was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed. We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; But the LORD laid upon him the guilt of us all. Though he was harshly treated, he submitted and opened not his mouth; Like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth.

Together:

Dear Jesus, how can we ever praise and thank You enough? You are both High Priest and Victim. You freely offer Yourself on our behalf. Full of sorrow for our sins and gratitude for Your mercy, we wish to join You on the Cross. With the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews, we pray, “Let us then go to him outside the camp, bearing the reproach that he bore.” (Heb 13:13) We offer all our joys and sorrows, actions and sufferings in union with Your self-offering. May we become, with You, victims of love.

Reader:

Is 53:11b-12

Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear. Therefore I will give him his portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty, because he surrendered himself to death and was counted among the wicked; and he shall take away the sins of many, and win pardon for their offences.

Day Three – The Lamb of God

Reader:

John 1:29-30

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’”

Together:

Lord, in the Jewish Temple, lambs were offered as a holocaust. These sacrifices foreshadowed You, the true Lamb of God who would redeem us. Before You every knee shall bend, and all creation shall worship You with the Father and the Holy Spirit. What wondrous love! God the Son, the Eternal Word, You became the Lamb of God to take away my sins! You loved me and gave Yourself for me! (Gal 2:20)

Reader:

Rev 5:13-14

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, everything in the universe, cry out: “To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour, glory and might, forever and ever.” The four living creatures answered, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

Day Four – The Perfect Sacrifice

Reader:

Hebrews 10:5-7, 14

For this reason, when he came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight in. Then I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll, Behold, I come to do your will, O God.’” …For by one offering he has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated.

Together:

Dear Jesus, You became the Eternal High Priest at the Incarnation, when “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. You came in obedience to the Father’s will, and Your obedience was mirrored by Your Mother, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.” By Your obedience even unto death, the disobedience of sin was atoned for, and our hearts are turned again to our Heavenly Father. How powerful that one single sacrifice, obtaining the grace of every conversion, all holiness, every meritorious act, all perseverance!

Reader:

Hebrews 9:11-14

But when Christ came as high priest … he entered once for all into the sanctuary, not with the blood of goats and calves but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of a heifer’s ashes can sanctify those who are defiled so that their flesh is cleansed, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.

Day Five – Worship in Spirit and Truth

Reader:

John 4:23-24

Jesus said, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.”

Together:

My Redeemer, it is written into our very nature to worship. Through sin, our human race turned from God. But You, true God and true Man, came to be a bridge between heaven and earth, offering on our behalf a sacrifice of infinite dignity. Your worship becomes our worship. Through You we can make acts of Adoration, Thanksgiving, Reparation and Supplication. With You we desire all mankind to be brought into the joy of this worship: “O praise the Lord, all you nations, acclaim Him all you peoples; strong is His love for us, He is faithful forever!” (Ps 117)

 

Reader:

Malachi 1:11

For from the rising of the sun, even to its setting, My name is great among the nations; and everywhere they bring sacrifice to My name, and a pure offering; for great is My name among the nations, says the LORD of hosts. 

Day Six- The Mass

Reader:

Luke 22:19-20

Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.”

Together:

Eternal High Priest, we thank you for the gift of the Mass! This is the world’s greatest treasure, heaven upon earth. Here You are present where we gather in Your name, and in Your Word, and in the same Sacrifice You offered upon the Cross, and especially in Your most holy and precious Body and Blood. We thank you for giving us the gifts of the Eucharist and Priesthood at the Last Supper. You are the Priest at every Mass. At every Mass may we offer ourselves with You through the hands of the Priest, for Your glory and the salvation of souls.

Reader:

Heb 12:22-24, 28

You have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and countless angels in festal gathering, and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven, and God the judge of all, and the spirits of the just made perfect, and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel. Therefore, we who are receiving the unshakable kingdom should have gratitude, with which we should offer worship pleasing to God in reverence and awe.

Day Seven – Priestly People

Reader:

1Pet 2:4-5, 9

Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. But you are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises” of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Together:

Dear Jesus, thank You for the Church. Thank you for sharing Your Priesthood with us through Baptism and ordination. Fill Your ordained priests with Your compassion. May they offer the Holy Sacrifice worthily and often and may they be inspired by saintly Laity. Through the service of holy Priests may the Laity live their common priesthood fully, sharing in the offering of the Eucharist actively and devoutly. Grant all the Baptised grace to receive the Sacraments with faith and love, to pray, to make reparation and do works of charity, to sanctify the world, and to give the witness of a holy life. Through Your Priestly People, may You be glorified and our world transformed.

Reader:

Rev 5: 8-10

The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones. They sang a new hymn: “Worthy are you to receive the scroll and to break open its seals, for you were slain and with your blood you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation. You made them a kingdom and priests for our God, and they will reign on earth.”

Day Eight – Living to Intercede

Reader:

Hebrews 7:17,24-26

“You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Jesus, because he remains forever, has a priesthood that does not pass away. Therefore, he is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them. It was fitting that we should have such a high priest: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, higher than the heavens.

Together:

Jesus our Eternal High Priest, at the Ascension You entered Heaven, the Holy of Holies, with Your blood poured out for us, and with Your sacred Wounds. At every moment You are living to intercede for us. You continue to intercede in the same sacrifice made present in the Mass, and in the Tabernacle, and in a special way in Priests as they pray each day for the world.

We praise and thank You for Your ceaseless love: O marvellous condescension of divine love for us! … In the crib, on the Cross, in the unending glory of the Father, Christ has all the members of the Church present before Him and united to Him. (Mystici Corporis 75)

Reader:

Hebrews 10:19-23

Therefore, brothers, since through the blood of Jesus we have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary by the new and living way he opened for us through the veil, that is, his flesh, and since we have “a great priest over the house of God,” let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy.

Day Nine – Co-Redeemers

Reader:

Phil 2:5-8

Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.

Together:

O my Jesus, Eternal High Priest, moved with gratitude and love I resolve to live this Mystery in my life. I wish to have the same attitude which was in You when You offered Yourself to the Father, adoration, humility, purity, love. Let me share Your suffering as You make all things new. May I be full of faith, hope and love, and every day have a priestly attitude, so that I may make up in my own body “what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church” (Col 1:24). Help me to take up my cross every day and follow You, so that I may share in Your work of redeeming the world.

Reader:

Romans 12:1-2

I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.

3. Concluding Prayers

Leader:  

Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest, ever living to make intercession for us, in Your loving sacrifice alone is all our hope for salvation, all our source of joy. In Your compassion, pour out Your Holy Spirit upon us, baptised and ordained sharers in Your Priesthood, so that through You, with You and in You, we may offer ourselves to the Father as a sacrifice of love. May there arise from our souls to the Blessed Trinity on behalf of all creation, adoration, thanksgiving, reparation and supplication, for the glory of the Divine Majesty and the salvation of souls. Help us to evangelize, to do our part to help others worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth. Amen.

O Mary, Mother of our Eternal High Priest, we praise and thank you for your loving obedience at the incarnation and at the foot of the Cross. Obtain for us your children the grace to share your “fiat” to His Victimhood, your love for the Priestly Heart of your Divine Son, and your joy at our redemption. Help us to be one with Him in His sacrifice offered in every Mass. Amen.

4. The Gloria

(New English translation)

Together:

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will.
We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory,
Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father.
Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
You take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us; You take away the sins of the world: receive our prayer.
You are seated at the right hand of the Father: have mercy on us.
For You alone are the Holy One, You alone are the Lord, You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

5. To Conclude the Ninth Day –  Litany of Christ the Priest.

Lord, have mercy.   R. Lord, have mercy.

Christ have mercy. R. Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.   R. Lord, have mercy.

Christ hear us.        R. Christ, hear us.

Christ graciously hear us. R. Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven, R. have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, R.

God the Holy Spirit, R.

Holy Trinity, one God, R.

Jesus, Priest and Victim, R.

Jesus, Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek,  R.

Jesus, Priest whom God sent to evangelize the poor, R.

Jesus, Priest who at the Last Supper instituted the everlasting Sacrifice, R.

Jesus, Priest always living to intercede for us, R.

Jesus, High Priest anointed by the Father with the Holy Spirit and with power, R.

Jesus, High Priest taken from among men, R.

Jesus, High Priest appointed on behalf of men, R.

Jesus, High Priest of our confession of faith, R.

Jesus, High Priest of a greater glory than Moses, R.

Jesus, High Priest of the true tabernacle, R.

Jesus, High Priest of the good things to come, R.

Jesus, High Priest, holy, innocent and undefiled, R.

Jesus, High Priest, faithful and merciful, R.

Jesus, High Priest of God and on fire with zeal for souls, R.

Jesus, High Priest, perfect forever, R.

Jesus, High Priest, who passed through the heavens with your own Blood, R.

Jesus, High Priest, who opened a new way for us, R.

Jesus, High Priest, who loved us and washed us from our sins in your Blood, R.

Jesus, High Priest, you offered yourself as an oblation and victim to God, R.

Jesus, Victim of God and of men, R.

Jesus, Victim, holy and immaculate, R.

Jesus, appeasing Victim, R.

Jesus, peace-making Victim, R.

Jesus, Victim of propitiation and of praise, R.

Jesus, Victim of reconciliation and of peace, R.

Jesus, Victim in whom we have confidence and access to God, R.

Jesus, Victim living forever and ever, R.

Be merciful! R. Spare us, O Jesus.

Be merciful! R. Graciously hear us, O Jesus.

By your eternal priesthood,   R. deliver us, O Jesus.

By your holy anointing, by which you were constituted Priest by God the Father, R.

By your priestly spirit, R.

By your ministry, by which you glorified your Father upon earth, R.

By your bloody immolation of yourself made once upon the Cross, R.

By your same Sacrifice renewed daily upon the altar, R.

By your divine power, which you invisibly exercise in your priests, R.

Graciously preserve the entire priestly order in holiness of life, R. We beseech you, hear us.

Graciously provide for your people pastors after your own heart, R.

Graciously fill them with the spirit of your priesthood, R.

Graciously grant that the lips of priests may hold knowledge, R.

Graciously send faithful labourers into your harvest, R.

Graciously multiply faithful stewards of your mysteries, R.

Graciously grant them persevering service in accordance with your will, R.

Graciously grant them meekness in the ministry, skill in action and constancy, in prayer, R.

Graciously promote through them everywhere the worship of the Blessed Sacrament R.

Graciously receive into your joy those who have served you well, R.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, R. spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, R. graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, R. have mercy on us, O Lord.

Jesus our Priest, R. hear us.
Jesus our Priest, R. graciously hear us.

Leader:

Let us pray

O God, sanctifier and guardian of your Church,
raise up in her by your Spirit worthy and faithful stewards of the sacred mysteries,
that by their ministry and example, the Christian people
may be directed along the way of salvation under your protection.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord. R. Amen.

For a pdf of the Novena in honour of Our Compassionate High Priest, click here.

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Liturgy for the Feast of Christ the Priest (Divine Office and Mass)

Thursday after Pentecost

For a pdf of the Liturgy for the Feast of Christ the Priest – click here

OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE ETERNAL HIGH PRIEST

Feast

Invitatory

Ant.        Let us give glory to Christ who has an eternal priesthood.

Invitatory Psalm, as in the Ordinary.

Office of Readings

Hymn

Jesus, our High Priest, only Mediator,
mercifully bringing prayers before the Father:
from every nation, justly we extol you,
singing your praises.

Formed by the Spirit in the womb of Mary,
Son of the Virgin, your right arm embraces
all of creation, Sacrifice and Victim,
worthy of blessing.

Named by the Father Priest and King for ever,
you were anointed with the oil of gladness,
brought to high heaven and his throne of glory,
height of all honour.

God most exalted, mortal flesh assuming,
offering your life-blood, precious gift all cleansing,
you paid the ransom, price of our redemption,
death’s curse removing.

Christ, who uplifted on the Cross of sorrow,
drew all creation, piercing hearts with ardour,
grant we may ever praise you and the Father,
one with the Spirit. Amen.

Psalmody

Ant. 1     I asked my Father, and he has given me the nations as an inheritance.

Psalm 2

1 Why do the nations conspire,
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 They arise, the kings of the earth;
princes plot against the Lord and his Anointed.
3 ‘Let us burst asunder their fetters.
Let us cast off from us their chains.’

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord derides and mocks them.
5 Then he will speak in his anger,
his rage will strike them with terror.
6 ‘It is I who have appointed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.’

7 I will announce his decree:
The Lord said to me, ‘You are my Son.
It is I who have begotten you this day.
8 Ask of me and I will make nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth as your possession.
9 With a rod of iron you will rule them;
like a potter’s jar you will shatter them.’

10 So now, O kings, understand;
take warning, rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear;
exult with trembling, embrace correction,
12 lest he be angry and you perish on the way,
for suddenly his anger will blaze.
Blessed are all who trust in God!

Ant. 1     I asked my Father, and he has given me the nations as an inheritance.

Ant. 2     Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.

Psalm 40 (39):2-13

2 I waited, I waited for the Lord,
and he stooped down to me;
he heard my cry.

3 He drew me from the deadly pit,
from the miry clay.
He set my feet upon a rock,
made my footsteps firm.

4 He put a new song into my mouth,
praise of our God.
Many shall see and fear
and shall trust in the Lord.

5 Blessed the man who has placed
his trust in the Lord,
and has not gone over to the proud
who follow false gods.

6 How many are the wonders and designs
that you have worked for us, O Lord my God;
you have no equal.
Should I wish to proclaim or speak of them,
they would be more than I can tell!

7 You delight not in sacrifice and offering,
but in an open ear.
You do not ask for holocaust and sin offering.

8 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come.’
In the scroll of the book it stands written of me:
9 ‘I delight to do your will, O my God;
your instruction lies deep within me.’

10 Your righteousness I have proclaimed
in the great assembly.
My lips I have not sealed;
you know it, O Lord.

11 Your saving help I have not hidden in my heart;
of your faithfulness and salvation I have spoken.
I made no secret of your merciful love
and your faithfulness to the great assembly.

12 You, O Lord, will not withhold
your compassion from me.
Your loving mercy and your faithfulness
will always guard me.

13 For I am beset with evils
too many to be counted.
My iniquities have overtaken me,
till I can see no more.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart is sinking.

Ant. 2     Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.

Ant. 3     Christ loved the Church and handed himself over for her, to make her holy.

Psalm 85 (84)

2 O Lord, you have favoured your land,
and brought back the captives of Jacob.
3 You forgave the guilt of your people,
and covered all their sins.
4 You averted all your rage;
you turned back the heat of your anger.

5 Bring us back, O God, our saviour!
Put an end to your grievance against us.
6 Will you be angry with us forever?
Will your anger last from age to age?

7 Will you not restore again our life,
that your people may rejoice in you?
8 Show us, O Lord, your mercy,
and grant us your salvation.

9 I will hear what the Lord God speaks;
he speaks of peace for his people and his faithful,
and those who turn their hearts to him.
10 His salvation is near for those who fear him,
and his glory will dwell in our land.

11 Merciful love and faithfulness have met;
righteousness and peace have kissed.
12 Faithfulness shall spring from the earth,
and righteousness look down from heaven.

13 Also the Lord will bestow his bounty,
and our earth shall yield its increase.
14 Righteousness will march before him,
and guide his steps on the way.

Ant. 3     Christ loved the Church and handed himself over for her, to make her holy.

±     Christ offered one sacrifice for sins.

∕     And has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

First Reading                                                                                                          Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:1-10

A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews

Jesus, the great High Priest

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is bound to offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. And one does not take the honour upon himself, but he is called by God, just as Aaron was.

So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him,
‘You are my Son,
today I have begotten you’;
as he says also in another place,
‘You are a priest for ever,
According to the order of Melchizedek.’

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

Responsory                                                                                                                          Phil 2:8; Is 53:7

±     Christ humbled himself, * becoming obedient even to death.

∕     He was sacrificed, for he himself willed it, * becoming…

Second Reading

A reading from the Encyclical Mediator Dei of Pope Pius XII                                (AAS 39 [1947], 552-553)

Christ, Priest and Victim

Christ is a Priest indeed; however, he is a Priest not for himself but for us, since, in the name of the whole human race, he brings our prayers and religious dispositions to the eternal Father; he is also a victim, but a victim for us, since he substitutes himself for sinners.

Now the exhortation of the Apostle, ‘Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,’ demands that all Christians should possess, as far as is humanly possible, the same dispositions as those which the divine Redeemer had when he offered himself in sacrifice: that is to say, they should with a humble attitude of mind, offer adoration, honour, praise and thanksgiving to the supreme majesty of God.

Moreover, it demands that they must assume in some way the condition of a victim, that they deny themselves as the Gospel commands, that freely and of their own accord they do penance and that each detests and makes satisfaction for his sins.

It demands, in a word, that we must all undergo with Christ a mystical death on the Cross so that we can apply to ourselves the words of St. Paul, ‘I have been crucified with Christ’ (Galatians 2:19).

Responsory                                                                                                                       Cf. Galatians 2:20

±.    I live by faith in the Son of God, * Who has loved me and has given himself up for me.

∕     I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me. * Who has loved me…

Hymn, Te Deum

Prayer, as in Morning Prayer.

Hymn

Morning Prayer

Singing together, heaven and earth acclaim you,
Christ Jesus, Saviour, humankind redeeming,
offering the Father fitting expiation,
Priest through the ages.

Led to the slaughter, Jesus, you accepted,
willingly, gently, death and all its torment,
that you might lead us, who were lost and broken,
through heaven’s gateway.

Ending for ever former rites held sacred,
bringing fulfilment to the Prophets’ writings,
now by a new love, you ordained a covenant
with God the Most High.

Merciful Author of so great a covenant,
you, the true Victim, food of life eternal,
placed on the altar, pledge of peace most holy,
you are the one Priest.

Christ, who uplifted on the Cross of sorrow,
drew all creation, piercing hearts with ardour,
grant we may ever praise you and the Father,
one with the Spirit. Amen.

Ant. 1     Through the blood of the Cross of Christ, the Father has established peace with all things, whether on earth or in heaven.

Psalms and canticle of Sunday, Week I.

Ant. 2     All things were created through Christ and in Christ.

Ant. 3     He has put all things under his feet and has made him Head over the whole Church, which is his Body.

Short Reading                                                                                                                  Hebrews 10:5-10

When Christ came into the world, he said,
‘Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Lo, I have come to do your will, O God,’
as it is written of me in the roll of the book.’
When he said above, ‘You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings’ (these are offered according to the law), then he added, ‘Lo, I have come to do your will.’ He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Short Responsory                                                                                                          Psalm 40 (39):8-9

±. Behold I come * that I may do your will. Behold I come…
∕. Your law is in my inmost heart. * That I may do your will. Glory be to the Father. Behold I come…

Benedictus ant.     May they all be one, Father, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.

Intercessions

Father of mercies and God of all consolation, you fill with your kindness all who approach you. As we begin this day, through Christ and with him and in him, we your children pray:
Lord, graciously hear us.
Jesus Christ, Son of the living God,
— lead us into the light of your truth.
Christ, Word of God, you are with the Father for ever;
— stir up in your faithful the will to proclaim the Gospel.
Jesus, Anointed of the Father in the Holy Spirit,
— consecrate your Church in holiness.
Christ, High Priest of the New Covenant,
— clothe Priests with your holiness, to the glory of the Father.
Christ, Wisdom of God, our peace and reconciliation,
— grant that we may be made one in heart and mind in your Church.
Christ, Eternal Priest, who glorify the Father,
— grant that in you our offering may be rendered as praise to your eternal glory.
Our Father.

Prayer

O God, who for the glory of your majesty
and the salvation of the human race,
made your Only Begotten Son the Eternal High Priest,
grant that, through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit,
those whom he has chosen as ministers and stewards of his mysteries
may be found faithful in carrying out the ministry they have received.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Prayer during the Day

Psalms of the occurring weekday.

Prayer before Noon

Ant.      Through Christ we all have access to the Father in the one Spirit.

Short Reading                                                                                                                  Hebrews 7:26-27

For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself.

± Rejoice that you have a share in the sufferings of Christ.
That you may also rejoice and exult in the revelation of his glory.

Midday Prayer

Ant.    You have been built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.

Short Reading                                                                                                                        1 Peter 2:4-5

Come to him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious; and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

± As you have received Jesus Christ, the Lord, so walk in him.
Planted, and built up in him, and confirmed in faith.

Afternoon Prayer

Ant.        Grace has been given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift, for the building- up of his Body, which is the Church.

Short Reading                                                                                                                      1 Peter 2:9-10

You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. Once you were no people but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy but now you have received mercy.

± Let the peace of Christ exult in your hearts.
That peace in which you have also been called in the one Body.

Prayer, as at Morning Prayer.

Evening Prayer

Hymn

O Christ, High Priest for evermore
of your eternal covenant,
our hymns and prayers are rightly yours:
we sing you songs of thankful love.

Proceeding from the Father’s throne,
and moved with pity for our sin,
you came, obedient, weak, and poor,
incarnate in the Virgin’s womb.

You came destroying ancient sin,
preparing all for light and grace;
the Father and the Paraclete
anointed you as Priest and King.

Unique, unblemished sacrifice,
you shed your blood for love of us;
in love you grant your children now
to glory in the Father’s peace.

You give yourself eternally,
our altars’ saving sacrifice,
the perfect One enthroned on high,
obtaining mercy for us all.

Ant. 1     The Lord has sworn an oath, and he will not change: You are a priest for ever.

Psalm 110 (109):1-5, 7

The Lord’s revelation to my lord:
‘Sit at my right hand,
until I make your foes your footstool.’

2 The Lord will send from Zion
your sceptre of power:
rule in the midst of your foes.

3 With you is princely rule
on the day of your power.
In holy splendour, from the womb before the dawn,
I have begotten you.

4 The Lord has sworn an oath he will not change:
‘You are a priest forever,
according to the order of Melchizedek.’

5 The Lord at your right hand,
shatters kings on the day of his wrath.

7 He shall drink from the stream by the wayside,
and therefore he shall lift up his head.

Ant. 1     The Lord has sworn an oath, and he will not change: You are a priest for ever.

Ant. 2     God, who is rich in mercy, has brought us to life together in Christ.

Psalm 111 (110)

1 Alleluia!
I will praise the Lord with all my heart,
in the meeting of the just and the assembly.
2 Great are the works of the Lord,
to be pondered by all who delight in them.

3 Majestic and glorious his work;
his righteousness stands firm forever.
4 He has given us a memorial of his wonders.
The Lord is gracious and merciful.

5 He gives food to those who fear him;
keeps his covenant ever in mind.
6 His mighty works he has shown to his people
by giving them the heritage of nations.

7 His handiwork is justice and truth;
his precepts are all of them sure,
8 standing firm forever and ever,
wrought in uprightness and truth.

9 He has sent redemption to his people,
and established his covenant forever.
Holy his name, to be feared.

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
understanding marks all who live by it.
His praise endures forever!

Ant. 2     God, who is rich in mercy, has brought us to life together in Christ.

Ant. 3     Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

Canticle    Col 1:12-20

12 Let us give thanks to the Father who has made us worthy
to share the heritage of the holy ones in light.
13 He delivered us from the power of darkness
and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

15 He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation,
16 For in him all things in heaven and on earth were created,
things visible and invisible,
whether thrones or dominions, principalities or powers.

All were created through him and for him,
17 and he exists before all things,
and in him all things hold together.

18 He is the head of the body, the Church,
the beginning, the firstborn from the dead
19 that he may have primacy in all things.

For in him was all the fullness pleased to dwell,
20 and through him, to reconcile all things to himself,
both those on the earth, and those in the heavens,
making peace through the blood of his cross.

Ant. 3     Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

Short Reading                                                                                                                Hebrews 10:19-23

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

Short Responsory                                                                                                            Romans 5:1b-2b

± Let us have peace with God * through our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us have peace…
And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of the children of God. * Through our Lord. Glory be to the Father. Let us have peace…

Magnificat ant.     Father, I pray for them, because they are yours and I consecrate myself for them, so that they may also be consecrated in the Truth.

Intercessions

Through Christ, let us pour forth our prayers to God the Father, who directs all things by his will and blesses all who trust in him.
With confidence we ask that you hear us.
Christ, Word of the Father,
— place on our lips the prayer we are about to offer.
Christ our Priest, Bread of Life,
— grant your chosen ones to live the gift of their own priesthood, as they bring their self- oblation to perfection in you.
Christ in glory, always interceding for us with the Father,
— keep us faithful in prayer, lest labourers should be lacking for your harvest.
Christ the Lord, sent by the Father,
— grant that in you all may find life and the way of the Kingdom.
Christ, Son of the living God, who by your death have conquered death,
— grant that the ultimate self-offering of our dead may bring them eternal joy in glory.
Our Father.

Prayer

O God, who for the glory of your majesty
and the salvation of the human race,
made your Only Begotten Son the Eternal High Priest,
grant that, through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit,
those whom he has chosen as ministers and stewards of his mysteries
may be found faithful in carrying out the ministry they have received.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

THE ROMAN MISSAL LECTIONARY

Thursday after Pentecost

OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE ETERNAL HIGH PRIEST

Year A

Feast

First Reading                                                                                                                    Genesis 22:9–18

The sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith.

A reading from the Book of Genesis
When they came to the place of which God had told him,
Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order,
and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, upon the wood.
Then Abraham put forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’
And he said, ‘Here am I.’
He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him;
for now I know that you fear God,
seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.’
And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked,
and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns;
and Abraham went and took the ram,
and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.
So Abraham called the name of that place The Lord will provide;
as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.’
And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said,
‘By myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this,
and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you,
and I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven
and as the sand which is on the seashore.
And your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies,
and by your descendants shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves,
because you have obeyed my voice.’
The word of the Lord.

Or:

First Reading                                                                                                                   Hebrews 10:4–10

It is written of me in the roll of the book: I have come to do you will, O God.

A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews
For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.
Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
‘Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, “Lo, I have come to do your will, O God,”
as it is written of me in the roll of the book.’
When he said above,
‘You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings
and burnt offerings and sin offerings’ (these are offered according to the law),
then he added, ‘Lo, I have come to do your will.’
He abolishes the first in order to establish the second.
And by that will we have been sanctified
through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm                                                                       Psalm 40(39):7-8a, 10-11ab, 17 (± 8a, 9a)

± Behold I have come, Lord, to do your will.

You delight not in sacrifice and offering,
but in an open ear.
You do not ask for holocaust and sin offering.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come.’

Your righteousness I have proclaimed in the great assembly.
My lips I have not sealed; you know it, O Lord.
Your saving help I have not hidden in my heart;
of your faithfulness and salvation I have spoken,

O let there be rejoicing and gladness
for all who seek you,
Let them ever say, ‘The Lord is great,’
who long for your salvation.

Alleluia                                                                                                                              Philippians 2:8–9

± Alleluia.
Christ became obedient for us unto death,
even death on a cross.
Therefore God has exalted him
and given him a name which is above every name.
± Alleluia.

Gospel                                                                                                                               Matthew 26:36-42

My soul is sorrowful unto death.

Ñ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew
Jesus went with the disciples to a place called Gethsemane,
and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here, while I go yonder and pray.’
And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee,
he began to be sorrowful and troubled.
Then he said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death;
remain here, and watch with me.’
And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed,
‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me;
nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.’
And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping;
and he said to Peter, ‘So, could you not watch with me one hour?
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation;
the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’
Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed,
‘My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, thy will be done.’
The Gospel of the Lord.

Year B

First Reading                                                                                                                  Jeremiah 31:31-34

I will make a new covenant with them; I will remember their sins no more.

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah
‘Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,
not like the covenant which I made with their fathers
when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt,
my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband,
says the Lord.
But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,
says the Lord:
I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts;
and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
And no longer shall each man teach his neighbour and each his brother, saying,
‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,
says the Lord;
for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.’
The word of the Lord.

Or:

First Reading                                                                                                                  Hebrews 10:11-18

He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews
Every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices,
which can never take away sins.
But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins,
he sat down at the right hand of God,
then to wait until his enemies should be made a stool for his feet.
For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,
‘This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,’
then he adds,
‘I will remember their sins and their misdeeds no more.’
Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm                                                                                   Psalm 110(109):1b-e, 2, 3 (± 4b)

± You are a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchizedek.

The Lord’s revelation to my lord:
‘Sit at my right hand,
until I make your foes your footstool.’

The Lord will send from Zion
your sceptre of power:
rule in the midst of your foes.

With you is princely rule
on the day of your power.
In holy splendour, from the womb before the dawn,
I have begotten you.

Alleluia                                                                                                                                  Hebrews 5:8-9

± Alleluia.
Since he was Son,
he learned obedience through those things which he suffered,
and having been made perfect, he has become for all who obey him
the author of eternal salvation.
± Alleluia.

Gospel                                                                                                                                   Mark 14:22-25

This is my body. This is my blood.

Ñ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark
As they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them,
and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’
And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them,
and they all drank of it.
And he said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.
Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine
until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.’
The Gospel of the Lord.

Year C

First Reading                                                                                                                        Isaiah 6:1-4, 8

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord of hosts.

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah
In the year that King Uzziah died
I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up;
and his train filled the temple.
Above him stood the seraphim; each had six wings:
with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
And one called to another and said:
‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.’
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called,
and the house was filled with smoke.
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’
Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.’
The word of the Lord.

Or:

First Reading                                                                                                                    Hebrews 2:10-18

He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin.

A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews
It was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist,
in bringing many sons to glory,
should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering.
For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin.
That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying,
‘I will proclaim your name to my brethren,
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.’
And again,
‘I will put my trust in him.’
And again,
‘Here am I, and the children God has given me.’
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood,
he himself likewise partook of the same nature,
that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death,
that is, the devil,
and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.
For surely it is not with angels that he is concerned
but with the descendants of Abraham.
Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect,
so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God,
to make expiation for the sins of the people.
For because he himself has suffered and been tempted,
he is able to help those who are tempted.
The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm                                                                                         Psalm 23 (22):2-3, 5, 6 (±1)

± The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me;
he revives my soul.
He guides me along the right path,
for the sake of his name.

You have prepared a table before me
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell
for length of days unending.

Alleluia                                                                                                                            Ezekiel 36:25a, 26a

± Alleluia.
I will pour clean water upon you
and I will give you a new heart;
a new spirit I will put within you.
± Alleluia.

Gospel                                                                                                                           John 17:1-2, 9, 14-26

For their sake I consecrate myself, so that they may also be consecrated in truth.

Ñ A reading from the holy Gospel according to John
Jesus lifted up his eyes to heaven and said,
‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,
since you have given him power over all flesh,
to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.
I am praying for them;
I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me,
for they are yours.
I have given them your word;
and the world has hated them because they are not of the world,
even as I am not of the world.
I do not pray that you should take them out of the world,
but that you should keep them from the evil one.
They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
As you did send me into the world,
so I have sent them into the world.
And for their sake I consecrate myself,
that they also may be consecrated in truth.
‘I do not pray for these only,
but also for those who believe in me through their word,
that they may all be one;
even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you,
that they also may be in us,
so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
The glory which you have given me I have given to them,
that they may be one even as we are one,
I in them and you in me,
that they may become perfectly one,
so that the world may know that you have sent me
and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me,
may be with me where I am,
to behold my glory which you have given me in your love for me
before the foundation of the world.
O righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you;
and these know that you have sent me.
I made known to them your name, and I will make it known,
that the love with which you have loved me
may be in them, and I in them.’
The Gospel of the Lord.

THE ROMAN MISSAL PROPER OF TIME

Thursday after Pentecost

OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE ETERNAL HIGH PRIEST

Feast

Entrance Antiphon                                                                                                         Cf. Heb 7:24; 9, 15

Christ, Mediator of the New Covenant,
has an eternal priesthood
because he remains for ever.

The Gloria in excelsis (Glory to God in the highest) is said.

Collect

O God, who for the glory of your majesty
and the salvation of the human race,
made your Only Begotten Son the Eternal High Priest,
grant that, through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit,
those whom he has chosen as ministers and stewards of his mysteries
may be found faithful in carrying out the ministry they have received.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Prayer of the Offerings

Lord, may our Mediator Jesus Christ
render these gifts acceptable to you,
and may he present us
as sacrifices pleasing to you
in union with him.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Preface: The priesthood of Christ and of the Church

± The Lord be with you.
∕ And with your spirit.
± Lift up your hearts.
∕ We lift them up to the Lord.
± Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
∕ It is right and just.
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.

For by the anointing of the Holy Spirit
you made your Only Begotten Son
High Priest of the new and eternal covenant,
and by your wondrous design were pleased to decree
that his one Priesthood should continue in the Church.

For Christ not only adorns with a royal priesthood
the people he has made his own,
but with a brother’s kindness he also chooses men
to become sharers in his sacred ministry
through the laying on of hands.

They are to renew in his name
the sacrifice of human redemption,
to set before your children the paschal banquet,
to lead your holy people in charity,
to nourish them with the word
and strengthen them with the Sacraments.

As they give up their lives for you
and for the salvation of their brothers and sisters,
they strive to be conformed to the image of Christ himself
and offer you a constant witness of faith and love.

And so, Lord, with all the Angels and Saints,
we, too, give you thanks, as in exultation we acclaim:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts…

Communion Antiphon                                                                                                               Mt 28:20

And behold, I am with you always,
even to the end of the age.

Prayer after Communion

May this divine sacrifice we have offered and received fill us with life, O Lord, we pray, so that, bound to you in lasting charity, we may bear fruit that lasts for ever. Through Christ our Lord.

ROMAN MARTYROLOGY

11. Thursday after Pentecost

The Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, The Eternal High Priest, according to the order of Melchizedek. In him the Father has been well pleased from before all time. As Mediator between God and human beings, fulfilling his Father’s will, he sacrificed himself once on the altar of the Cross as a saving Victim for the whole world. Thus, instituting the pattern of an everlasting sacrifice, with a brother’s kindness he chose, from among the children of Adam, men to augment the priesthood, so that, from the sacrifice continually renewed in the Church, streams of divine power might flow, whereby a new heaven and a new earth might be made, and throughout the whole universe there would be perfected what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor has entered into the human heart.

  1. Thursday after Pentecost: Our Lord Jesus Christ, The Eternal High Priest Heb 9: 24-25
    For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own.
    The word of the Lord.
    ± Thanks be to God.

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Statues of Christ the Priest

To learn about our statues of Christ the Priest, click here.

CTP Statue small

Hymns to Christ the Priest

Jesus Our High Priest, Lord and Mediator.pdf

O Christ High Priest Eternal.pdf

We have a High Priest.pdf

Isaiah 52 and 53

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