Friday, June 19, 2009

Year of the Priest: Pope Benedict Writes a Letter to Every Priest

Catholic Online (

'O, how great is the priest! ... If he realized what he is, he would die.' (St. John Mary Vianney)

'Without the priest, the passion and death of our Lord would be of no avail. It is the priest who continues the work of redemption on earth. ... What use would be a house filled with gold, were there no one to open its door? The priest holds the key to the treasures of heaven: it is he who opens the door: he is the steward of the good Lord; the administrator of His goods. ... Leave a parish for twenty years without a priest, and they will end by worshipping the beasts there. ... The priest is not a priest for himself, he is a priest for you.' (Cure of Ars)

ROME (Catholic Online) - Pope Benedict XVI has sent a tender, personal and theologically beautiful letter to every Catholic priest in the world. On June 19, the Solemnity of the Most sacred heart of Jesus, he will inaugurate a "Year for Priests." The year will be dedicated to prayer for the sanctification and renewal of the clergy. Using the words and witness of the saintly Cure of Ars, St. John Mary Vianney, as a backdrop for this letter to his beloved priests he has broken open for all the depth and beauty of the priestly vocation. He has also invited all of the faithful to fully participate.

We present excerpts from this beautiful letter below. We encourage all of our readers to feast on its richness by studying it in its entirety. It is also posted below in its entirety as our first story. Print it, read it, pray over it and give a copy to a priest. We are dedicated to spending this year inviting our global readership to intense and dedicated prayer for our priests. We will focus much of our coverage on the beauty and dignity of the priestly vocation. All of this in a concerted effort to honor priests and encourage vocations to the priesthood:

'Priesthood Is the Love of the Heart of Jesus'

Dear Brother Priests,

On the forthcoming Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Friday 19 June 2009 - a day traditionally devoted to prayer for the sanctification of the clergy - I have decided to inaugurate a "Year for Priests" in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the "dies natalis" of John Mary Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests worldwide.


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