In this podcast hear about the letter that Pope Benedict XVI has written to all priests as we prepare for beginning of the Year for Priests on June 19th. Download full text.

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Pope Benedict at his desk

Letter to Clergy

Click on link to download full text as PDF- Papal Letter to Clergy for Year for Priests

The Pope has sent a Letter to the priests of the world for the occasion of the Year for Priests, which has been called to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney.

The Letter has been published in Italian, French, Spanish, English, German, Polish and Portuguese.

Extract and Conclusion

….In today’s world, as in the troubled times of the Cur of Ars, the lives and activity of priests need to be distinguished by a forceful witness to the Gospel. As Pope Paul VI rightly noted, “modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses”. Lest we experience existential emptiness and the effectiveness of our ministry be compromised, we need to ask ourselves ever anew: “Are we truly pervaded by the word of God? Is that word truly the nourishment we live by, even more than bread and the things of this world? Do we really know that word? Do we love it? Are we deeply engaged with this word to the point that it really leaves a mark on our lives and shapes our thinking?”. Just as Jesus called the Twelve to be with him (cf. Mk 3:14), and only later sent them forth to preach, so too in our days priests are called to assimilate that “new style of life” which was inaugurated by the Lord Jesus and taken up by the Apostles….

….To the Most Holy Virgin I entrust this Year for Priests. I ask her to awaken in the heart of every priest a generous and renewed commitment to the ideal of complete self‐oblation to Christ and the Church which inspired the thoughts and actions of the saintly Cur of Ars. It was his fervent prayer life and his impassioned love of Christ Crucified that enabled John Mary Vianney to grow daily in his total self‐oblation to God and the Church. May his example lead all priests to offer that witness of unity with their Bishop, with one another and with the lay faithful, which today, as ever, is so necessary. Despite all the evil present in our world, the words which Christ spoke to his Apostles in the Upper Room continue to inspire us: “In the world you have tribulation; but take courage, I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). Our faith in the Divine Master gives us the strength to look to the future with confidence. Dear priests, Christ is counting on you. In the footsteps of the Cur of Ars, let yourselves be enthralled by him. In this way you too will be, for the world in our time, heralds of hope, reconciliation and peace!

With my blessing.
From the Vatican, 16 June 2009.

Inauguration of Jubilee Year for Priests

On the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and day of prayer for the sanctification of the clergy, Benedict XVI will inaugurate this Jubilee Year for Priests during Vespers in the Vatican Basilica.

The theme for the priestly year is Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of Priests.

The closing ceremony will take place exactly one year later, with a World Meeting of Priests in St. Peters Square.

During this year, a directory for confessors and spiritual directors will be published, along with a compilation of texts by the Pope on the core issues of the life and mission of priests in the modern times.

As well, Benedict XVI will officially proclaim St. Jean Marie Vianney as patron saint of all the priests of the world.

The congregation will aim in this year to promote initiatives that will highlight the role and mission of the clergy in the Church and in modern society.

Another goal will be to address the need to intensify the permanent formation of priests, associating it with that of seminarians.