Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Year of the Priest

Today begins the year of the priest. Although I am not ordained yet, this year will be very significant for how we view the ministerial priesthood. The following text is from the bulletin article that I wrote for the parish that I am living at this summer.

On Friday June 19th, the year of the priest began. This special year was announced on March 16th and will last until June 19, 2010. It is no coincidence that the year of the priest began on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The image of the Sacred Heart is a reminder of God’s unfailing love for his children. In August, the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney will be celebrated. St. John Vianney is the patron saint of all priests. St. John Vianney was the parish priest in Ars, France and was known for his holiness of life. He was not known for being an intelligent priest and the parish in Ars, France was not vibrant to say the least. He was not expected to do much at this parish, but God had other plans. One of the things that Vianney was known for was the direction that he gave to people in the Sacrament of Penance. In the latter part of his life, he would spend 16 to 18 hours a day hearing the confessions of bishops, priests, religious, and young men and women. It is estimated that 20,000 people would come every year to seek out the sacraments and instruction from this holy man. During this time, he underwent many physical and spiritual trials: he was tempted by the devil, slept very little, and lived on a diet of potatoes. Pope Benedict has stated that St. John Vianney is a model for all priests because of his dedication to serving his flock in a heroic way.

As we begin the year of the priest, there are a few things that we can do as a parish community to participate in this special year. One of the easiest and most important ways to participate is to pray for our priests. There are some great prayers available at www.usccb.org. Another way to participate is to say “Thank-you” to your priest. Priests are present at so many points in our lives: baptisms, weddings, funerals, first confessions, first Eucharist, graduations and many more. In the coming months, please remember to pray for our priests, that they will be given the grace necessary to live their priesthood like St. John Vianney did.

May God bless the priests that are present in our lives.