Saturday, October 19, 2013

There Were No Priests - Catherine Doherty

Sts. Isaac Jogues and John de Brebeuf, North American Martyrs

There Were No Priests
I remember the day when there were no priests in St. Petersburg. It was in the early days of the Russian Revolution, when things were so unsettled and priests were shot on sight, as were many other people. The Jewish rabbis, the Protestant ministers, the Orthodox priests, all were shot or “disposed of” in some way.  
A little Roman Catholic parish was still surviving, and those of us who knew about it participated in the middle of the night in the Mass. It was a very short Mass, but still a Mass. One night when the priest had just consecrated the Host, the door opened, a rifle was thrust through; a shot was fired, and the priest fell dead. The consecrated Host rolled off the altar onto the floor. Two soldiers came up then, ground the Host under their heels, and turning to us said, “Where is your God? Under our heel!”  
An old man answered, “Lord, forgive them, even if they know what they do.” Shamed or embarrassed, the two soldiers left the church. The old man gave us Communion with the remnants of the Host. He washed the desecrated floor with holy water, and we buried the priest.  
And then there were no priests! No one to hear confession. No one to give us Viaticum and the last rites (as they were called then). No one to offer Mass. Anyone who has gone through such a tragedy knows what it means to be without a priest. - Servant of God Catherine Doherty in Grace in Every Season: Through the Year With Catherine Doherty

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