Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Announcing: The Year of the Priest!

In his address of 16 March 2009 (available at to the Vatican Congregation for Clergy, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI announced the celebration of a special year dedicated to the priesthood. The Year of the Priest will begin on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, 19 June 2009, and end on the same feast on 2010. This special year focused on priesthood coincides with the 150th anniversary of the of Saint John Vianney, patron saint of priests and a shepherd. The Cure of Ars wrote the following about the holy priesthood:
"The priest is not a priest for himself; he does not give himself absolution; he does not administer the Sacraments to himself. He is not for himself, he is for you... When people wish to destroy religion, they begin by attacking the priest, because where there is no longer any priest there is no sacrifice, and where there is no longer any sacrifice there is no religion...
What joy did the Apostles feel after the Resurrection of Our Lord, at seeing the Master whom they had loved so much! The priest must feel the same joy at seeing Our Lord whom he holds in his hands. Great value is attached to objects which have been laid in the drinking cup of the Blessed Virgin and of the Child Jesus, at Loretto. But the fingers of the priest, that have touched the adorable Flesh of Jesus Christ, that have been plunged into the chalice which contained His , into the pyx where His Body has lain, are they not still more precious? The priesthood is the love of the Heart of Jesus."
The final sentence of this excerpt brings to the fore the appropriateness of the Holy Father’s choice to begin the Year of the Priest on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart.
As the Holy Father explains in his address, the Year of the Priest is first of all directed toward encouraging priests in striving for spiritual perfection on which their ministry depends. The Pope reminds priests of the “aspiration to moral perfection that must dwell in every authentically priestly heart.” Priesthood is more than ministerial activity; it is a call from Christ to “participation in a ‘new life.’” Every priest must cultivate in his own life a deep and abiding union with Christ, who is the perfect High Priest and the one whom every priest images in his ministry to the Church.
Secondly, this Year of the Priest is an opportunity to recall the true identity and mission of the priesthood and to proclaim that truth for the good of the whole Church. The Holy Father reminds us all that “the ministerial priesthood…is ontologically distinct, and not only by rank, from the baptismal priesthood that is also known as the ‘common priesthood.’” Furthermore, the priest’s mission is carried out “in the Church.” The priest does not proclaim himself but, rather, brings God to the world. The priest ministers in communion with the Church, in its hierarchical and doctrinal context. Solid formation of priests, rooted in the uninterrupted Tradition of the Church, is essential. The life of the Church depends on good priests, formed in the mind and heart of the Church, to bring the love of the Heart of Jesus to the world. “As priests,” the Pope said, “we proclaim Jesus of Nazareth Lord and Christ, Crucified and Risen…in the glad certainty that this truth coincides with the deepest expectations of the human heart.”
Finally, for the whole Church, this Year of the Priest is a time to be reminded of the unique and indispensible gift of the priesthood to the Church. It is a time to appreciate our priests and to express our appreciation to them in prayer and deeds of love. It is a time to pray earnestly for priestly vocations, that the Church may never be deprived of an abundance of love and grace, flowing from the Sacred Heart of Christ, through the heart of every priest, and into the hearts of all believers.

Read the Holy Father's announcement of the Year of the Priest...

...and his letter to priests...

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