Friday, June 19, 2009

The Year for Priests Opens: A Time for Rediscovering the Beauty and Importance of the Priesthood

Commentators Available on Formation, Perspective, Life and Role of Priests

Contact: Christine Schicker, 404-610-8871,; Ashley Walker, 678-990-9032,; both with The Maximus Group

ATLANTA, June 19 /Christian Newswire/ -- Pope Benedict XVI will open the "Year for Priests" today, June 19 in St. Peter's Basilica. "Faithfulness of Christ, faithfulness of priests" is the theme for a year that ends on June 19, 2010 in St. Peter's Square at a World Meeting of Priests. The year also marks the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Vianney, known as the "Curé of Ars."

According to the Vatican announcement, Pope Benedict stressed that priests need to be "present, identifiable and recognizable -- for their judgment of faith, personal virtues and attire -- in the fields of culture and of charity which have always been at the heart of the Church's mission." The Vatican's intention for the "Year for Priests" is to rebuild strong priestly spiritual identities, noting that "priests are important not only for what they do, but also for who they are."

In a letter to priests, the Holy See stressed that the Church "is proud of her priests, loves them, honors them, admires them and recognizes with gratitude their pastoral work and witness.

"The prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, is encouraging local dioceses and parishes to plan events that will "celebrate and show appreciation for priests."


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