"We recognize the priest as one chosen from among men to serve men in the affairs of God. He is the minister of reconciliation with God, the teacher of the truth, and one who offers the sacrifice, who administers the sacraments, who prays for the people.
We distinguish in him that double character of man and priest; we recognize the divine character of the priesthood which forces us to bend the knee to him for the forgiveness of sins and to receive from his hands the holy sacrifice of the Eucharist. His ordination has conferred upon the man the character of the priesthood of Jesus Christ.
In the parish he is the ambassador of God, the administrator of the sacraments, the guardian of the sacred deposit of faith, the defender of the people's rights, and the unselfish friend of everyone. From the cradle to the grave, he touches intimately the lives of his people and brings to them in all the circumstances of life the blessing of the Divine Savior of whom he is the commissioned minister.
The people feel that in the true priest there is no taint of selfishness, and that he is willing to sacrifice his life in order that the spiritual interests of his people may not suffer "
-- Bishop James Conaty, Our Young People, 1912
Prayer for Priests (St. Pius X)
O Jesus, eternal High Priest, divine Sacrificer,
Thou who in an unspeakable burst of love for men, Thy Brethren, didst cause the Christian Priesthood to spring forth from Thy Sacred Heart, vouchsafe to pour forth upon Thy priests continual living streams of infinite love.
Live in them, transform them in to Thee; make them, by Thy Grace, fit instruments of Thy mercy; do Thou act in them and through them, and grant, that they may become wholly one with Thee by their faithful imitation of Thy Virtues; and, in Thy name and by the strength of Thy spirit, may they do the works which Thou didst accomplish for the salvation of the world.
Divine Redeemer of souls, behold how great is the multitude of those who still sleep in the darkness of error; reckon up the number of those unfaithful sheep who stray to the edge of the precipice; consider the throngs of the poor, the hungry, the ignorant and the feeble who groan in their abandoned condition.
Return to us in the person of Thy priests; truly live again in them; act through them and pass once more through the world, teaching, forgiving, comforting, sacrificing and renewing the sacred bonds of love between the Heart of God and the heart of man.
St. Pius X (Raccolta 1907, Prayer 614. Rescript in his own hand March 3, 1905 )