Monday, 16 March 2009

Holy Father announces a special year for Priests

The Holy Father has decided to call a special year for priests from 16th June 2009 to 16th June 2010, being also the year which marks the 150th anniversary of the death of St. Jean Marie Vianney, the Cure of Ars.
I am sure many graces will flow from heaven upon our priests, during this special year, at the intercession of the humble and holy Cure, whom the Pope describes as a 'true example of a pastor at the service of Christ's flock'.

A couple of points that stood out in the text of the announcement here were:

"The centrality of Christ leads to a correct valuation of priestly ministry, without which there would be no Eucharist, no mission, not even the Church. It is necessary then, to ensure that 'new structures' or pastoral organisations are not planned for a time in which it will be possible to 'do without' ordained ministry, on the basis of an erroneous interpretation of the promotion of the laity, because this would lay the foundations for a further dilution in priestly ministry, and any supposed 'solutions' would, in fact, dramatically coincide with the real causes of the problems currently affecting the ministry".

I think that Pastor Juventus, in this week's article for the Catholic Herald, must have been thinking along similar lines, where he comments on the heavy workload faced by so many priests:
" this should be galvanising us all into a huge effort to promote priestly vocations and to stop all the nonsense about the declining number of priests are God's way of telling us that what He really wants is more lay ministry."

And on the formation of seminarians the Holy Father underlines the need to:

"have care for the formation of candidates to the priesthood", a formation that must maintain communion with unbroken ecclesial Tradition, without pausing or being tempted by discontinuity. In this context, it is important to encourage priests, especially the young generations, to a correct reading of the texts of Vatican Council II, interpreted in the light of all the Church's doctrinal inheritance".

The laity could and hopefully will, support this 'special year' with a renewed effort to pray and make sacrifices for all priests, those known and those unknown, the nice along with the grumpy, the faithful and those in difficulty.
As the Holy Father says, without priests there would be no Eucharist, no mission and no Church.

St Jean Vianney, Pray for them, and for more labourers to the harvest.

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