The Eucharistic Heart of the Priest

Authored by Fr. Michael A. Caridi in Issue #31.1 of The Sower

In this article Fr. Michael A. Caridi givse us a reflection on the primordial bond and intrinsic link between the Eucharist and the Priesthood.

Shortly after being named Archbishop of Saigon in 1975, Francois-Xavier Nguyen van Thuan was arrested by the Communist authorities and imprisoned for the next thirteen years. In his account, Five Loaves and Two Fish, Cardinal Thuan tells of offering clandestine Masses while in prison, using meager amounts of bread and wine that had been smuggled in. After Mass, he would fashion a tiny container from the paper of cigarette boxes in which to reserve the Blessed Sacrament for later adoration. He would secretly carry the makeshift tabernacle with the consecrated Host within the breast pocket of his shirt, close to his heart.

While, over the course of those thirteen years in prison, the Communists time and again relentlessly tried to break the Cardinal and strip him of his emotional, spiritual and moral dignity, they couldn’t. Why? Because his was a priestly dignity, a dignity not based upon comfort, position, or honor, but on the fact that Jesus Christ is always close to the priest’s heart – an intense union stemming primarily from his ability to make Jesus present in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist, a bond that offers the priest the necessary strength to endure all the demands his vocation implies.

Simply put, Cardinal Thuan survived his years of imprisonment because he could find a way to offer Mass, thus keeping Jesus near to his heart.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!

This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections: St. Thomas More and the Struggle for Virtue
By Dr. James Pauley
Free Sitting alone in his prison cell in the Tower of London, awaiting his execution, Sir Thomas More wrote a prayer in the margins of his prayer book. “Give me thy grace, good Lord, to set the world at naught; to set my mind fast upon thee, and not to hang upon the blast of men’s mouths.” [1] In the minds of many throughout Europe in 1535, Sir Thomas... Read more
Catholic Social Teachings and the Virtue of Mercy: Living the Social Dimension of Christian Discipleship
By Dr. Donald Asci
Last year while preparing to speak at a diocesan event on Catholic Social Teachings (henceforth CST) I came across a link on the USCCB website that offered a series of quotes from Pope Francis on the CST. Thinking I might find a pithy quote to use in my address, I opened the file only to find that it contained an overwhelming 378 pages of... Read more
From the Shepherds: Love, Whatever the Cost
By Pope Francis
Free As we reflect in this issue of The Catechetical Review on “living the virtues,” we recall St. Paul’s words that faith, hope, and love remain, “but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor 13:13). For the benefit of our catechetical readers, we are reprinting here the homily of his Holiness for the meeting of reflection and spirituality, “... Read more


Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now