In his weekly pastoral letter published a few days before ordaining five new priests on June 18, the bishop of Córdoba, Spain, Demetrio Fernández, wrote that the Catholic Church cannot live without her priests, stressing that they are “a vital necessity.”

“The Church can neither live nor survive without priests. It’s a vital necessity. Because she cannot live without the presence of Christ who continually vivifies her through the sacraments, and especially through the Eucharist,” the bishop said. 

“Without priests there is no Eucharist or sacramental forgiveness of sins, or accompaniment to so many people who seek that presence of Christ by their side,” the bishop stressed.

Noting that the path to the priesthood isn’t easy, Bishop Fernández said that those who seek to respond to God in this vocation must seek him in prayer.

“In the serenity of prayer, with the counsel of the formators, and with the help of brother seminarians, the horizon becomes clearer until moral certainty is reached: God is calling me to be his priest, Jesus Christ is calling me to be his totally, people need the priest to draw close to God. Here I am, send me, as the prophet said,” the Spanish prelate wrote.

The bishop pointed out that a priest is a blessing for families, parishes, and fellow seminarians and encouraged young men not to be afraid to say yes to the Lord.

“Young men, if the Lord is calling you on this path, don’t be afraid. These young men who are ordained today are made of the same stuff as you are. And if you have any uneasiness about this direction, put yourself in the hands of a priest who will help you discern,” he encouraged.

“I assure you that if you take this step, you’ll be happy, because there is no greater happiness than giving your life to the Lord and making others happy, giving them to the Lord,” he said.

The bishop encouraged people to pray for priestly vocations to God since, furthermore, “there is no greater sadness for a diocese than not having seminarians, candidates for the priesthood” and “there is no greater joy for a diocese than to have seminarians, who are going to be ordained priests for the service of the holy People of God.”

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