5 Caring Prayers For a Priest Leaving the Parish

Last Updated on October 19, 2023 by Emma

Is your priest leaving your parish?  Do you need to pray about your priest and his departure from your parish?

You may have many questions running through your mind as you absorb this information.  What will happen to your parish and all of its ministries during the transition?  Who will the new priest be and will he be a good fit with everyone?  How will you like the new priest?  How do you keep your friendship with your current priest?

Amidst all of your questions, perhaps the best thing you can do in the present is pray.  God hears our prayers, even when we may not know exactly what to pray, for

“The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 6.26-27, NIV).

You are going to miss seeing your priest.  You’re going to miss being ministered to, whether you’ve known your priest briefly, or for most of your life.  Although your priest has cared for you, you also have cared for your priest.

It’s hard to say goodbye in these circumstances.  After all, a priest serves as a leader, a friend, a teacher, and a counselor.  Now you have the opportunity to pray for them as they depart from your parish. But it’s always hard to say goodbye- whether it’s a co-worker, pastor, or priest it’s never easy.

These five caring prayers for a priest leaving the parish are for you to use as you need to.  You are welcome to alter the details of any of the prayers to suit your particular situation.  I encourage you to not worry about whether you have the right words or not.  Each prayer you pray will be heard by God and used by the Spirit.  And I can just about guarantee that your parish priest will appreciate your ministry to them in this deeply spiritual and meaningful way.

While we place a great deal of trust in our priests, let us remember that Jesus “is the head of the body, the church” (Colossians 1.18 NIV).  Ultimately, we can trust Christ regarding the Church.

Take advantage of these prayers. God has guided you to this website because you have a caring heart and love your priest and care about your parish.  May your love be heard, and seen, as you pray each day.

A Brief Prayer For Our Departing Priest

Dear God, I pray for our priest who is leaving our parish at the end of the month.  He has been here long enough that we really have gotten to know him and he has been such an integral part of our lives.  We are already missing him and he hasn’t even left yet.  Bless him as he goes and help us welcome our new priest with care and love.  I ask this in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Prayer for Our Priest Leaving the Parish

Father God in heaven, I come to you in prayer for (name), our priest.  He is departing from the parish in a few weeks.  I wish he could stay beyond that time but I understand he needs to go to where you are calling him to go.

We all thank you Lord, for how you’ve used (name) here and what he means to us.  We will miss him so much!

I ask that you fill his heart and mind with good memories from his ministry here.  I know you are guiding him and his ministry and you are preparing us for a new person as well.  May we all, together, give you praise and thanks for the many blessings you have given to him, and us, during his caring ministry amongst us.  I pray these things in the loving name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

A Prayer For Our Parish as Our Priest Departs

Jesus our Savior, I pray for our parish right now.  Our priest is leaving the parish and I’m concerned about what will happen when he leaves.  We won’t have a leader, a shepherd, for at least a couple of months.   Who will say Mass and offer the Eucharist?  I worry about the strength of the congregation in the transition time.

Help us, Lord, to keep our eyes upon you, and our hearts centered on you by your Spirit.  While we may be weak in our feelings right now, I pray for us to be strong in you and your great faithfulness.

(Priest’s name) has been here many years and his leaving will create an emotional hole for many of us.  I know my trust should be in you, O Lord, but right now, in this moment, I’m having difficulty with what is happening.  Please help me grow in my faith!  I lift my worries to you, Lord, and ask that you send your Spirit throughout our parish to make us stronger.

Continue your mighty work in every family in this parish, Lord, as we trust you during this difficult transition.  I make this prayer in the comforting name and presence of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

A Prayer For What to Say to Departing Priest

Dear God Our Father, our priest is departing from our parish and I don’t know what to say to him, but I know I need to say something!  He’s been a teacher and a counselor, but mostly, he has been a friend to me.  I appreciate how transparent and authentic he has been with me, and with each person in our parish.

Holy Spirit, speak through me as I pray for my priest.  When I talk with him, I ask that you put the right words in my mouth, words to encourage him and strengthen him.  I want to be able to minister to him for those few moments.

As I pray for him, I ask the Holy Spirit to speak into his ear, his mind, and his heart, bringing him direction and deep peace.  I believe you can take my mere words and make them powerful in love, truth, grace, and mercy.

Through my prayer, I want my priest to know he is loved and appreciated.  I pray this prayer in the mighty name of Jesus Christ Our Lord, Amen.

A Prayer For Our New Priest

Our Father, who art in heaven, I come to you in prayer for our new priest, who arrives tomorrow.  Last week, we said goodbye to (former priest’s name) whom you have led to a new ministry.  Now we must turn our emotions toward welcoming (new priest’s name).

I am having a hard time with all of this change, but I know that you are the One who is in control and your plan and will are being worked all around us.  I pray for everyone in our parish to open their hearts to our new priest.

I pray for his opening few days and weeks as he gets to know us, and we get to know him.  Grant him your strength and guidance by your Holy Spirit.  May you make the path straight for his travels here and eliminate all obstacles to his coming here.

I pray this prayer in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Final Thoughts

As your parish priest departs, you will miss him and that is perfectly natural.  People of faith know that with God we will see a better tomorrow even if today is hard.  When you love a person deeply, you will miss a person deeply when they leave.  It is appropriate to be a little sad regarding their leaving.  However, you can also be joyful that God is taking your priest to a new parish and a new group of people who will be blessed through him, just like you were here.

“Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you” (Hebrews 13.17, NIV).

You now have the opportunity to be a blessing to your new priest.  They come to lead you and love you and be God’s servant amongst you in your parish.  Set up a time with your new priest to talk with him and get to know him.

Be at peace that whatever questions you have may not have immediate answers, but take comfort in the truth, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing” (Psalm 23.1 NIV).

You can trust in an unchanging God, even in the midst of changing circumstances. Just as your priest has ministered to you, now you can minister to him through prayer.

Allow yourself to be guided by Our Shepherd and Guide.  Let the prayers above not only ease your concerns but be a blessing to both your former priest and your new priest.  You can pray these prayers each day before your current priest departs.  I invite you to share your own prayer requests in the comments section below.

Let the power of prayer bring you peace throughout your parish!