Intercession for Priests was started by Father Kevin Scallon, C.M. at
All Hallows College in 1976 in response to the great upheaval in the priesthood
in the years following Vatican II.
it all began...
"The years following
Vatican II were a critical time for priests and many were deciding to
leave the priesthood. Those who persevere were trying to come to terms
with the nature and demands of priestly ministry. Even then, it seemed
to me that the crises in the priesthood were not of the kind that would
be resolved by human means. When I heard of a programme in the United
States called the Intercession for Priests it struck me that something
like this was just what was needed. It turned out there were twelve of
us with some lay people and Sr. Briege McKenna, O.S.C. We began on the
feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, July 16th, 1976. Over the years, thousands
of priests have taken part in it from all over Ireland and from places
very far away.
Its impact on my own life has been incomparable, as I know it has been
on the lives of many, many priests. Only the Lord knows how effective
the prayers and intercessions, of so many, have been for the spiritual
renewal of the priesthood.
Has It Lasted...
It has lasted
because it has provided for many priests, a rock, a place of security
where they can come and feel at home in their priesthood. It is a familiar
place where psalms are sung and heard in a new way; where the divine therapist
is encountered in the forgiveness of sin and the binding up of wounds;
where there is no "correctness"; where you can pray with and
for each other. It is this that draws so many of us to come here year
We thank the Father of all. We thank Jesus, our Eternal High Priest. We
thank the Holy Spirit who never fails to teach us. We thank the Mother
of God who is always present with us. We thank you, priests, for coming
so faithfully. I thank my Vincentian Community for their gentle approval
and support. I thank the core group whose fidelity is beyond compare.
We thank the countless brothers and sisters who have joined us each weekend
and each year at Knock to pray for their priests.
I thank Sr. Briege McKenna, O.S.C. Providentially, Sr. Briege came to
see me for the first time on that fateful 16th of July. Her love for the
Church and for the priesthood was then, and now, unconditional. Her gift
of ministering to priests is quite unique.
I pray that the future of the Intercession for Priests will be
as blessed as its past and that it will continue to be a source of strength
and grace for many priests in the years to come."
Fr. Kevin Scallon, C.M.