Friday, June 16, 2006

World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests

passed along via a phatmasser who found it at
In 2002, Pope John Paul II announced a special "Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests" to be held annually on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Catholics everywhere are invited to celebrate this day with prayer and sacrifice for their priests.

"I would also like to invite the whole Christian community to pray for the sanctification of priests. I also remember the day of my priestly ordination. I again express my gratitude to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for this grace offered me almost 49 years ago.

Holiness is a vocation common to all believers. But since the priest must guide his brothers and sisters, he has an additional reason to be holy. The People of God and public opinion itself are not mistaken, then, in expecting from priests a witness of life that is deeply consistent, even to the point of heroism.

Nevertheless, we should not forget that holiness should be implored from God, since by its nature it is an arduous way in which priests, no less than other men, are marked by weakness.

It is therefore essential for the Christian community to support them with its prayer. This is why, in my Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday this year, I suggested that all the Dioceses of the world celebrate a "Day for the Sanctification of Priests", to call upon the Lord so that all his ministers will live in ever fuller conformity with the heart of the Good Shepherd.

I entrust these new priests and, with them, all the priests of the world to the Blessed Virgin, especially those who are suffering the most, who are the loneliest, the most sorely tried, so that sustained by her motherly tenderness, they may experience the full joy of their mission." (John Paul II)

Suggestions for Celebrating the "World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests"

1. Offer an hour of Adoration for Vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life in honor of your parish priest. Send him a note and let him know you prayed for his intentions and for all vocations.

2. Offer a Mass, family rosary or other devotion for the intentions of your parish priest.

3. Encourage your children to pray for the priest that baptized them, or the one that hears their confessions or celebrates Mass for them. Have them write them a short note. Younger children can add a picture they have drawn or colored.

4. Invite your parish priest to dinner or make a meal and drop it by the rectory. Include a note with a picture of your family to make it even more personal.

5. Do you have a special talent that might be of help to your priest or parish? Let your priest know and ask him if he can use your help.

6. Pray for your priest just before you leave Mass on Sunday and say "Thank you for your vocation, Father." on the way out.

How will you celebrate this day? Please remember your priests that are guiding you now, priests that have passed away, and all the priests that will be ordained in the future (vocations).
The feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus falls this year on June 23rd. Mark your calendars and spread the word!

UPDATE: Read the Vatican Letter for World Day of Prayer for Sanctification of Priests (Sent by the Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy) here.


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