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'Woman, behold your son – my priest'

After several years of prayer for a child, God granted me the privilege of becoming the mother of a beautiful son. What a gift from God this was for me. God continued to bestow his blessings to our family when my son was ordained a priest of Jesus Christ, which heightened my privilege to an honor. During the weekend of his ordination, more gifts were given and received when Father James presented me the maniturgium, the cloth with which he wiped his sacred hands after they were consecrated with the oil of Holy Chrism. Joy and an abundance of God's blessings and graces consume me when I am present for the holy sacrifice of the Mass, especially when my son is the celebrant. My heart is filled with pride knowing that Father James accepted God's call to the Lord's message of faith, hope and love to his people and participate in his work of salvation as his human instrument in consecrating bread and wine into his son's Body and Blood, soul and divinity. Like the Blessed Mother, God gives me the grace and the strength to support my only child in his priestly vocation. People ask if I am sad not to have grandchildren. How can there be anything but pure joy for the mother of a priest who is striving to do God's will? A priest gives of himself at all hours of the day and night because he loves the Lord Jesus and has solemnly handed over his life to God as a sacrificial offering for the sanctification of his holy people. I encourage all of us to remember now more than ever to stand behind our priests and to pray for them daily. I remind myself often to fall in love with the priestly ministry of Jesus Christ to which he has called my son.

– Denise Dodson

Bishop's Fund Annual Appeal