I heard a story a long time ago. From a woman who escaped the Soviet Union and came to America.
She told us how lucky we are in America to have priests. She urged us to pray in thanksgiving every day that we have priests.
The communists in Russia outlawed religion. While some religions continued to operate, the government seemed to have a particular hatred of Catholics. Russian communists were familiar with the unique power of priests to consecrate the sacrifice and administer sacraments.