1959 Sacerdotii nostri primordia EN 45

St. John Vianney's Devotion to the Eucharist

45 The devotion to prayer of St. John M. Vianney, who was to spend almost the whole of the last thirty years of his life in Church caring for the crowds of penitents who flocked to him, had one special characteristic—it was specially directed toward the Eucharist.

46 It is almost unbelievable how ardent his devotion to Christ hidden beneath the veils of the Eucharist really was. "He is the one"—he said—"Who has loved us so much; why shouldn't we love Him in return?" (59) He was devoted to the adorable Sacrament of the altar with a burning charity and his soul was drawn to the sacred Tabernacle by a heavenly force that could not be resisted.

59. Cf. "Archiv. Secret. Vat.," 5,227, p. 1103.

47 This is how he taught his faithful to pray: "You do not need many words when you pray. We believe on faith that the good and gracious God is there in the tabernacle; we open our souls to Him; and feel happy that He allows us to come before Him; this is the best way to pray." (60) He did everything that there was to be done to stir up the reverence and love of the faithful for Christ hidden in the Sacrament of the Eucharist and to bring them to share in the riches of the divine Synaxis; the example of his devotion was ever before them. "To be convinced of this—witnesses tell us—all that was necessary was to see him carrying out the sacred ceremonies or simply to see him genuflect when he passed the tabernacle." (61)

60. Cf. ibid., 5,227, p. 45.
61. Cf. ibid., 5,227, p. 459.

Benefits from Eucharistic Prayer

48 As Our predecessor of immortal memory, Pius XII, has said—"The wonderful example of St. John Mary Vianney retains all of its force for our times." (62) For the lengthy prayer of a priest before the adorable Sacrament of the Altar has a dignity and an effectiveness that cannot be found elsewhere nor be replaced. And so when the priest adores Christ Our Lord and gives thanks to Him, or offers satisfaction for his own sins and those of others, or finally when he prays constantly that God keep special watch over the causes committed to his care, he is inflamed with a more ardent love for the Divine Redeemer to whom he has sworn allegiance and for those to whom he is devoting his pastoral care. And a devotion to the Eucharist that is ardent, constant and that carries over into works also has the effect of nourishing and fostering the inner perfection of his soul and assuring him, as he carries out his apostolic duties, of an abundance of the supernatural powers that the strongest workers for Christ must have.

62. Cf. Message of June 25, 1956: AAS 48 (1956) 579.

49 We do not want to skip over the benefits that accrue to the faithful themselves in this way, as they see the piety of their priests and are drawn by their example. For, as Our predecessor of happy memory, Pius XII, pointed out in a talk to the clergy of this dear city: "If you want the faithful who are entrusted to your care to pray willingly and well, you must give them an example and let them see you praying in church. A priest kneeling devoutly and reverently before the tabernacle, and pouring forth prayers to God with all his heart, is a wonderful example to the Christian people and serves as an inspiration." (63) The saintly Cure of Ars used all of these helps in carrying out his apostolic office, and without a doubt they are suitable to all times and places.

63. Cf. Discourse of March 13, 1943: AAS 35 (1943) 114-115.

The Mass and the Priesthood

50 But never forget that the principal form of Eucharistic prayer is contained in the holy Sacrifice of the Altar. It is Our opinion that this point ought to be considered more carefully, Venerable Brethren, for it touches on a particularly important aspect of priestly life.

51 It is not Our intention at this time to enter upon a lengthy treatment of the Church's teaching on the priesthood and on the Eucharistic Sacrifice as it has been handed down from antiquity. Our predecessors Pius XI and Pius XII have done this in clear and important documents and We urge you to take pains to see to it that the priests and faithful entrusted to your care are very familiar with them. This will clear up the doubts of some; and correct the more daring statements that have sometimes been made in discussing these matters.

52 But We too hope to say something worthwhile in this matter by showing the principal reason why the holy Cure of Ars, who, as befits a hero, was most careful in fulfilling his priestly duties, really deserves to be proposed to those who have the care of souls as a model of outstanding virtue and to be honored by them as their heavenly patron. If it is obviously true that a priest receives his priesthood so as to serve at the altar and that he enters upon this office by offering the Eucharistic Sacrifice, then it is equally true that for as long as he lives as God's minister, the Eucharistic Sacrifice will be the source and origin of the holiness that he attains and of the apostolic activity to which he devotes himself. All of these things came to pass in the fullest possible way in the case of St. John Vianney.

53 For, if you give careful consideration to all of the activity of a priest, what is the main point of his apostolate if not seeing to it that wherever the Church lives, a people who are joined by the bonds of faith, regenerated by holy Baptism and cleansed of their faults will be gathered together around the sacred altar? It is then that the priest, using the sacred power he has received, offers the divine Sacrifice in which Jesus Christ renews the unique immolation which He completed on Calvary for the redemption of mankind and for the glory of His heavenly Father. It is then that the Christians who have gathered together, acting through the ministry of the priest, present the divine Victim and offer themselves to the supreme and eternal God as a "sacrifice, living, holy, pleasing to God." (64) There it is that the people of God are taught the doctrines and precepts of faith and are nourished with the Body of Christ, and there it is that they find a means to gain supernatural life, to grow in it, and if need be to regain unity. And there besides, the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church, grows with spiritual increase throughout the world down to the end of time.

Rm 12,1.

54 It is only right and fitting to call the life of St. John Vianney a priestly and pastoral one in an outstanding way, because he spent more and more time in preaching the truths of religion and cleansing souls of the stain of sin as the years went by, and because he was mindful of the altar of God in each and every act of his sacred ministry!

55 It is true of course that the holy Cure's fame made great crowds of sinners flock to Ars, while many priests experience great difficulty in getting the people committed to their care to come to them at all, and then find that they have to teach them the most elementary truths of Christian doctrine just as if they were working in a missionary land. But as important and sometimes as trying as these apostolic labors may be, they should never be permitted to make men of God forget the great importance of the goal which they must always keep in view and which St. John Vianney attained through dedicating himself completely to the main works of the apostolic life in a tiny country church.

Personal Holiness and the Mass

56 This should be kept in mind, in particular: whatever a priest may plan, resolve, or do to become holy, he will have to draw, for example and for heavenly strength, upon the Eucharistic Sacrifice which he offers, just as the Roman Pontifical urges: "Be aware of what you are doing; imitate what you hold in your hands."

57 In this regard, We are pleased to repeat the words used by Our immediate predecessor of happy memory in the Apostolic Exhortation entitled Menti Nostrae: "Just as the whole life of Our Savior was pointed toward His sacrifice of Himself, so too the life of the priest, who must reproduce the image of Christ in himself, must become a pleasing sacrifice with Him and through Him and in Him. . . And so it is not enough for him to celebrate the Eucharistic sacrifice, but in a very deep sense, he must live it; for in this way, he can draw from it the heavenly strength that will enable him to be profoundly transformed and to share in the expiatory life of the Divine Redeemer himself. . . .(65) And again: "The soul of the priest must refer what takes place on the sacrificial altar to himself; for just as Jesus Christ immolates Himself, his minister must immolate himself along with Him; just as Jesus expiates the sins of men, so too the priest must tread the lofty path of Christian asceticism to bring about his own purification and that of his neighbors." (66)

65. Apostolic exhortation "Menti Nostrae," AAS 42 (1950) 666-667.
66. Cf. ibid., 667-668.

Safeguarding Holiness

58 This lofty aspect of doctrine is what the Church has in mind when, with maternal care, she invites her sacred ministers to devote themselves to asceticism and urges them to celebrate the Eucharistic Sacrifice with the greatest possible interior and exterior devotion. May not the fact that some priests fail to keep in mind the close connection that ought to exist between the offering of the Sacrifice and their own self-dedication be the reason why they gradually fall off from that first fervor they had at the time of their ordination? St. John Vianney learned this from experience and expressed it this way: "The reason why priests are remiss in their personal lives is that they do not offer the Sacrifice with attention and piety." And he, who in his lofty virtue, was in the habit of "offering himself as an expiation for sinners" (67) used to weep "when he thought of the unhappy priests who did not measure up to the holiness demanded by their office" (68)

67. Cf. "Archiv. Secret. Vat.," 5,227, p. 319.
68. Cf. ibid., 5,227, p. 47.

59 Speaking as a Father, We urge Our beloved priests to set aside a time to examine themselves on how they celebrate the divine mysteries, what their dispositions of soul and external attitude are as they ascend the altar and what fruit they are trying to gain from it. They should be spurred to do this by the centenary celebrations that are being held in honor of this outstanding and wonderful priest, who drew such great strength and such great desire to dedicate himself "from the consolation and happiness of offering the divine victim." (69) May his prayers, which We feel sure they will have, bring a fullness of light and strength down upon Our beloved priests.

69. Cf. ibid., pp. 667-668.


60 The wonderful examples of priestly asceticism and prayer that We have proposed for your consideration up to now, Venerable Brethren, also point clearly to the source of the pastoral skill and of the truly remarkable heavenly effectiveness of the sacred ministry of St. John M. Vianney. In this regard, Our predecessor of happy memory, Pius XII, gave a wise warning: "The priest should realize that the important ministry entrusted to him will be more fruitfully carried out, the more intimately he is united with Christ and led on by His spirit." (70) As a matter of fact, the life of the Cure of Ars offers one more outstanding argument in support of the supreme rule for apostolic labor that was laid down by Jesus Christ Himself: "Without me, you can do nothing." (71)

70. Apostolic exhortation "Menti Nostrae," AAS 42 (1950) 676.
Jn 15,5.

The Good Shepherd

61 We have no intention of trying to make a list of all the wonderful things done by this humble Cure of a country parish, who drew such immense crowds to the tribunal of Penance that some people, out of contempt, called him "a kind of nineteenth-century rabble-rouser"; (72) nor do We see any need of going into all of the particular ways in which he carried out his duties, some of which, perhaps, could not be accommodated to our times.

72. Cf. "Archiv. Secret. Vat.," 5,227, p. 629.

62 But We do want to recall this one fact—that this Saint was in his own times a model of pastoral devotion in a tiny community that was still suffering from the loss of Christian faith and morals that occurred while the French Revolution was raging. This was the mission and command received just before taking over his pastoral office: "You will find love of God in that parish; stir it up yourself." (73)

73. Cf. ibid., 5,227, p. 15.

63 He proved to be a tireless worker for God, one who was wise and devoted in winning over young people and bringing families back to the standards of Christian morality, a worker who was never too tired to show an interest in the human needs of his flock, one whose own way of life was very close to theirs and who was prepared to exert every effort and make any sacrifice to establish Christian schools and to make missions available to the people: and all of these things show that St. John M. Vianney reproduced the true image of the good shepherd in himself as he dealt with the flock entrusted to his care, for he knew his sheep, protected them from dangers, and gently but firmly looked after them.

64 Without realizing it, he was sounding his own praises in the words he once addressed to his people: "Good shepherd! O shepherd who lives up to the commands and desires of Jesus Christ completely! This is the greatest blessing that a kind and gracious God can send to a parish." (74)

74. Cf. "Sermons," 1.c., 5,2, p. 86.

65 But there are three things in particular of lasting value and importance that the example of this holy man brings home to us and it is to these in particular that We would like to direct your attention, Venerable Brethren.

His Esteem for the Pastoral Office

66 The first thing that strikes Us is the very high esteem in which he held his pastoral office. He was so humble by disposition and so much aware through faith of the importance of the salvation of a human soul that he could never undertake his parish duties without a feeling of fear.

67 "My friend"—these are the words he used to open his heart to a fellow-priest—"you have no idea of how fearful a thing it is for a priest to be snatched away from the care of souls to appear before the judgment seat of God." (75)

75. Cf. "Archiv. Secret. Vat.," 5,227, p. 1210.

68 Everyone knows—as We have already pointed out—how much he yearned and how long he prayed to be allowed to go off by himself to weep and to make proper expiation for what he called his miserable life; and We also know that only obedience and his zeal for the salvation of others got him to return to the field of the apostolate when he had abandoned it.

Sufferings for His Sheep

69 But if he felt the great weight of this burden to be so heavy that it sometimes seemed to be crushing him, this was also the reason why he conceived his office and its duties in so lofty a fashion that carrying them out called for great strength of soul. These are the prayers he addressed to heaven as he began his parochial ministry: "My God, make the sheep entrusted to me come back to a good way of life. For all my life I am prepared to endure anything that pleases you." (76)

76. Cf. "Archiv. Secret. Vat.," 5,227, p. 53.

70 And God heard these fervent prayers, for later our saint had to confess: "If I had known when I came to the parish of Ars what I would have to suffer, the fear of it would certainly have killed me." (77)

77. Cf. ibid., 5,227, p. 991.

71 Following in the footsteps of the great apostles of all ages, he knew that the best and most effective way for him to contribute to the salvation of those who would be entrusted to his care was through the cross. It was for them that he put up with all sorts of calumnies, prejudices and opposition, without complaint; for them that he willingly endured the sharp discomforts and annoyances of mind and body that were forced upon him by his daily administration of the Sacrament of Penance for thirty years with almost no interruption; for them that this athlete of Christ fought off the powers of hell; for them, last of all, that he brought his body into subjection through voluntary mortification.

72 Almost everyone knows his answer to the priest who complained to him that his apostolic zeal was bearing no fruit: "You have offered humble prayers to God, you have wept, you have groaned, you have sighed. Have you added fasts, vigils, sleeping on the floor, castigation of your body? Until you have done all of these, do not think that you have tried everything." (78)

78. Cf. ibid., 5,227, p. 53.

Need for Comparison

73 Once again Our mind turns to sacred ministers who have the care of souls, and We urgently beg them to realize the importance of these words. Let each one think over his own life, in the light of the supernatural prudence that should govern all of our actions, and ask himself if it is really all that the pastoral care of the people entrusted to him requires.

74 With firm confidence that the merciful God will never fail to offer the help that human weakness calls for, let sacred ministers think over the offices and burdens they have assumed by looking at St. John M. Vianney as if he were a mirror. "A terrible disaster strikes us Cures"—the holy man complained—"when our spirit grows lazy and careless"; he was referring to the harmful attitude of those pastors who are not disturbed by the fact that many sheep committed to them are growing filthy in the slavery of sin. If they want to imitate the Cure of Ars more closely, who was so "convinced that men should be loved, so that we can do good to them," (79) then let these priests ask themselves what kind of love they have for those whom God has entrusted to their care and for whom Christ has died!

79. Cf. "Archiv. Secret. Vat.," 5,227, p. 1002.

75 Because of human liberty and of events beyond all human control, the efforts of even the holiest of men will sometimes fail. But a priest ought to remember that in the mysterious counsels of Divine Providence, the eternal fate of many men is bound up with his pastoral interest and care and the example of his priestly life. Is not this thought powerful enough both to stir up the lackadaisical in an effective way and to urge on to greater efforts those who are already zealous in the work of Christ?

Preacher and Catechist

76 Because, as is recorded, "he was always ready to care for the needs of souls," (80) St. John M. Vianney, good shepherd that he was, was also outstanding in offering his sheep an abundant supply of the food of Christian truth. Throughout his life, he preached and taught Catechism.

80. Cf. ibid., 5,227, p. 580.

77 The Council of Trent pronounced this to be a parish priest's first and greatest duty and everyone knows what immense and constant labor John Vianney expended in order to be equal to carrying out this task. For he began his course of studies when he was already along in years, and he had great difficulty with it; and his first sermons to the people kept him up for whole nights on end. How much the ministers of the word of God can find here to imitate! For there are some who give up all effort at further study and then point too readily to his small fund of learning as an adequate excuse for themselves. They would be much better off if they would imitate the great perseverance of soul with which the Cure of Ars prepared himself to carry out this great ministry to the best of his abilities: which, as a matter of fact, were not quite as limited as is sometimes believed, for he had a clear mind and sound judgment. (81)

81. Cf. "Archiv. Secret. Vat.," 5,3897, p. 444.

Obligation to Learn

78 Men in Sacred Orders should gain an adequate knowledge of human affairs and a thorough knowledge of sacred doctrine that is in keeping with their abilities. Would that all pastors of souls would exert as much effort as the Cure of Ars did to overcome difficulties and obstacles in learning, to strengthen memory through practice, and especially to draw knowledge from the Cross of Our Lord, which is the greatest of all books. This is why his Bishop made this reply to some of his critics: "I do not know whether he is learned; but a heavenly light shines in him." (82)

82. Cf. ibid., 5,3897, p. 272.

Model for Preachers

79 This is why Our predecessor of happy memory, Pius XII, was perfectly right in not hesitating to offer this country Cure as a model for the preachers of the Holy City: "The holy Cure of Ars had none of the natural gifts of a speaker that stand out in men like P. Segneri or B. Bossuet. But the clear, lofty, living thoughts of his mind were reflected in the sound of his voice and shone forth from his glance, and they came out in the form of ideas and images that were so apt and so well fitted to the thoughts and feelings of his listeners and so full of wit and charm that even St. Francis de Sales would have been struck with admiration. This is the kind of speaker who wins the souls of the faithful. A man who is filled with Christ will not find it hard to discover ways and means of bringing others to Christ." (83)

83. Cf. Discourse of March 16, 1946: AAS 38 (1946) 186.

80 These words give a wonderful picture of the Cure of Ars as a catechism teacher and as a preacher. And when, towards the end of his life on earth, his voice was too weak to carry to his listeners, the sparkle and gleam of his eyes, his tears, his sighs of divine love, the bitter sorrow he evidenced when the mere concept of sin came to his mind, were enough to convert to a better way of life the faithful who surrounded his pulpit. How could anyone help being moved deeply with a life so completely dedicated to Christ shining so clearly there before him?

81 Up to the time of his blessed death, St. .John M Vianney held on tenaciously to his office of teaching the faithful committed to his care and the pious pilgrims who crowded the church, by denouncing evil of every kind, in whatever guise it might appear, "in season, out of season" (84) and, even more, by sublimely raising souls to God; for "he preferred to show the beauties of virtue rather than the ugliness of vice." (85) For this humble priest understood perfectly how great the dignity and sublimity of teaching the word of God really is. "Our Lord"—he said—"who Himself is truth, has as much regard for His word as for His Body."

2Tm 4,2.
85. Cf. "Archiv. Secret. Vat.," 5,227, p. 185.

The Obligation to Teach

82 So it is easy to realize what great joy it brought Our predecessors to point out an example like this to be imitated by those who guide the Christian people; for the proper and careful exercise of the teaching office by the clergy is of great importance. In speaking of this, St. Pius X had this to say: "We want especially to pursue this one point and to urge strongly that no priest has any more important duty or is bound by any stricter obligation." (86)

86. Encyclical letter
Acerbo nimis , Acta Pii X," II, p. 75.

83 And so once again We take this warning which Our predecessors have repeated over and over again and which has been inserted in the Code of Canon Law as well, (87) and We issue it to you, Venerable Brethren, on the occasion of the solemn celebration of the centenary of the holy catechist and preacher of Ars.

87. C.I.C.
CIS 1330-1332.

84 In this regard We wish to offer Our praise and encouragement to the studies that have been carefully and prudently carried on in many areas under your leadership and auspices, to improve the religious training of both youngsters and adults by presenting it in a variety of forms that are specially adapted to local circumstances and needs. All of these efforts are useful; but on the occasion of this centenary, God wants to cast new light on the wonderful power of the apostolic spirit, that sweeps all in its path, as it is exemplified in this priest who throughout his life was a witness in word and deed for Christ nailed to the cross "not in the persuasive language devised by human wisdom, but in a manifestation of spiritual power." (88)

1Co 2,4.

His Ministry in the Confessional

85 All that remains for Us to do is to recall at a little greater length the pastoral ministry of St. John M. Vianney, which was a kind of steady martyrdom for a long period of his life, and especially his administration of the sacrament of Penance, which calls for special praise for it brought forth the richest and most salutary fruits.

86 "For almost fifteen hours each day, he lent a patient ear to penitents. This work began early in the morning and continued well on into the night." (89) And when he was completely worn out and broken five days before his death and had no strength left, the final penitents came to his bed. Toward the end of his life, the number of those who came to see him each year reached eighty thousand according to the accounts. (90)

89. Cf. "Archiv. Secret. Vat.," 5,227, p. 18.
90. Cf. ibid.

His Anguish Over Sins

87 It is hard to imagine what pain and discomfort and bodily sufferings this man underwent as he sat to hear Confessions in the tribunal of Penance for what seemed like endless periods of time, especially if you recall how weakened he was by his fasts, mortifications, sicknesses, vigils and lack of sleep.

88 But he was bothered even more by a spiritual anguish that took complete possession of him. Listen to his mournful cries: "So many crimes against God are committed"—he said— "that they sometimes incline us to ask God to end this world!... You have to come to the town of Ars if you really want to learn what an infinite multitude of serious sins there are. . . Alas, we do not know what to do, we think that there is nothing else to do than weep and pray to God."

89 And this holy man could have added that he had taken on himself more than his share of the expiation of these sins. For he told those who asked his advice in this regard: "I impose only a small penance on those who confess their sins properly; the rest I perform in their place." (91)

91. Cf. "Archiv. Secret. Vat.," 5,227, p. 1018.

His Concern for Sinners

90 St. John M. Vianney always had "poor sinners," as he called them, in his mind and before his eyes, with the constant hope of seeing them turn back to God and weep for the sins they had committed. This was the object of all his thoughts and cares, and of the work that took up almost all his time and efforts. (92)

92. Cf. ibid., 5,227, p. 18.

91 From his experience in the tribunal of Penance, in which he loosed the bonds of sin, he understood just how much malice there is in sin and what terrible devastation it wreaks in the souls of men. He used to paint it in hideous colors: "If we"—he asserted—"had the faith to see a soul in mortal sin, we would die of fright." (93)

93. Cf. ibid., 5,227, p. 290.

92 But the sufferings of souls who have remained attached to their sins in hell did not add to the strength and vigor of his own sorrow and words as much as did the anguish he felt at the fact that divine love had been carelessly neglected or violated by some offense. This stubbornness in sin and ungrateful disregard for God's great goodness made rivers of tears flow from his eyes. "My friend"—he said—"I am weeping because you are not." (94)

94. Cf. ibid., 5,227, p. 999.

93 And yet, what great kindness he displayed in devoting himself to restoring hope to the souls of repentant sinners! He spared no effort to become a minister of divine mercy to them; and he described it as "like an overflowing river that carries all souls along with it" (95) and throbs with a love greater than that of a mother, "for God is quicker to forgive than a mother to snatch her child from the fire." (96)

95. Cf. ibid., 5,227, p. 978.
96. Cf. ibid., 5,3900, p. 1554.

The Seriousness of Confession

94 Let the example of the Cure of Ars stir up those who are in charge of souls to be eager and well-prepared in devoting themselves to this very serious work, for it is here most of all that divine mercy finally triumphs over human malice and that men have their sins wiped away and are reconciled to God.

95 And let them also remember that Our predecessor of happy memory, Pius XII, expressed disapproval "in the strongest terms" of the opinion of those who have little use for frequent confession, where it is a matter of venial sins; the Supreme Pontiff said: "We particularly recommend the pious practice of frequent confession, which the Church has introduced, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, as a means of swifter daily progress along the road of virtue." (97)

97. Encyclical letter "Mystici Corporis, AAS" 35 (1943) 235.

96 Again, We have complete confidence that sacred ministers will be even more careful than others in faithfully observing the prescriptions of Canon Law, (98) which make the pious use of the Sacrament of Penance, which is so necessary for the attainment of sanctity, obligatory at certain specified times; and that they will treat those urgent exhortations which this same predecessor of Ours made "with a sorrowful soul" on several occasions (99) with the supreme veneration and obedience they deserve.

98. C.I.C.
CIS 125, section 1.
99. Cf. encyclical letter "Mystici Corporis, AAS" 35 (1943) 235; encyclical letter "Mediator Dei, AAS" 39 (1947) 585; apostolic exhortation "Menti Nostrae, AAS" 42 (1950) 674.

Necessity of Personal Holiness

97 As this Encyclical of Ours draws to a close, We want to assure you, Venerable Brethren, of the high hopes We have that these centenary celebrations will, with the help of God, lead to a deeper desire and more intensive efforts on the part of all priests to carry out their sacred ministry with more ardent zeal and especially to work to fulfill "the first duty of priests, that is, the duty of becoming holy themselves.'' (100)

100. Apostolic Exhortation "Menti Nostrae, AAS" 42 (1950)

98 When We gaze from this height of the Supreme Pontificate to which We have been raised by the secret counsels of Divine Providence and turn Our mind to what souls are hoping for and expecting, or to the many areas of the earth that have not yet been brightened by the light of the Gospel, or last of all to the many needs of the Christian people, the figure of the priest is always before Our eyes.

99 If there were no priests or if they were not doing their daily work, what use would all these apostolic undertakings be, even those which seem best suited to the present age? Of what use would be the laymen who work so zealously and generously to help in the activities of the apostolate?

100 And so We do not hesitate to speak to all of these sacred ministers, whom We love so much and in whom the Church rests such great hopes—these priests—and urge them in the name of Jesus Christ from the depths of a father's heart to be faithful in doing and giving all that the seriousness of their ecclesiastical dignity requires of them.

101 This appeal of Ours draws added force from the wise and prudent words of St. Pius X: "Nothing is needed more to promote the kingdom of Jesus Christ in the world than the holiness of churchmen, who should stand out above the faithful by their example, their words and their teaching.'' (101)

101. Cf. epistle "La ristorazione," Acta Pii X, I, p. 257.

102 And this fits in perfectly with the words that St. John M. Vianney addressed to his bishop: "If you want the whole diocese to be converted to God, then all of the Cures must become holy."

1959 Sacerdotii nostri primordia EN 45