Priests rely on each other for spiritual support

Priests rely on each other for spiritual support

caritas1-webCamden Diocesan priests who are a part of Jesus Caritas Priest Fraternity stand in front of the papal nunciature in Washington, D.C., where they had their monthly meeting on Saturday, Sept. 12.

When Catholic parishioners are in times of despair or stress, and need encouragement and support, they often turn to their parish priest.

When priests need support, who do they turn to? Who ministers to the minister? For members of Jesus Caritas Priest Fraternity, it is fellow priests.

The fraternity began in 1951 in France and made its way to the United States in 1959. With more than 5,000 members worldwide, and 1,500 in the U.S., the organization helps priests to continue to live out the Gospel message, through monthly meetings that consist of Scripture sharing, contemplative prayer before Eucharist, fellowship, and a meal.

One such group in the Diocese of Camden held its monthly meeting at the papal nunciature in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, Sept. 12, where one of the priests, Msgr. Joseph Pokusa, is a staff member.

The members of this particular group, including Msgr. Pokusa, are Msgr. John Frey, pastor, Maris Stella, Avalon; Father Neil Lambert, St. Rose of Lima, Haddon Heights; Father Ronald Falotico, parochial vicar, St. Joseph, Hammonton; Father Joseph Capella, pastor, St. Luke, Stratford; Father Matthew Weber, parochial vicar, St. Luke; Father Tom Kiely, director, Office of Vocations; Father Stephen Rapposelli, parochial vicar, Our Lady of the Angels, Cape May Court House; Father Rene Canales, administrator, St. Casimir, Woodbine; Father Steven Pinzon, parochial vicar, St. Joseph, Swedesboro; and Father Nicholas Dudo, parochial vicar, St. Agnes, Blackwood.

Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, joined the group in prayer, and shared with the other his experience as a priest and his 40 years of representing the Holy Father throughout the world.

“I have been a part of Jesus Caritas since being ordained and…they are truly my brothers in Christ and at this point I would not want to make that journey without them,” said Father Kiely. “Sharing and fellowship are essential to healthy, joyful and fulfilling ministry. It nourishes us and in turn nourishes the people we serve.”

The group’s spirituality stems from the life and writings of Blessed Charles de Foucauld, who founded the first fraternity of priests.

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