The Year for Priests
"Everywhere we go, we find people
with this same tremendous hunger for God,
a hunger only you priests can satisfy by giving them Jesus."
- Mother Teresa
The Holy Father, in announcing the Year for the priests, said that this special year is intended “to encourage priests in this striving for spiritual perfection on which, above all, the effectiveness of their ministry depends. I have decided to establish a special "Year for Priests" that will begin on 19 June and last until 19 June 2010. In fact, it is the 150th anniversary of the death of the Holy Curé d'Ars, John Mary Vianney, a true example of a pastor at the service of Christ's flock.”
For this reason it must be, in a very special way, a year of prayer by priests, with priests and for priests, a year for the renewal of the spirituality of the presbyterate and of each priest. The Eucharist is, in this perspective, at the heart of priestly spirituality.
Cláudio Cardinal Hummes
Archbishop Emeritus of São Paulo
Prefect, Congregation for the Clergy
How grateful we are to God to you and your vocation as priests.
We need you to keep the church alive in this world, because without you there will be no Eucharist, and no Catholic Church.
We pray for your holiness, so that you may help us and all the people of God to be holy.
Pray for all of us and bless us.
Christ the High Priest
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About the Icon
Explanation of the icon of Christ the Great High Priest
Iconographer Marek Czarnecki of Seraphic Restorations in Meriden, Connecticut, has graciously given the USCCB the rights to use the icon of Christ the Great High Priest during the Year for Priests. Any parish or diocese that would like to use the image in conjunction with this special year is also permitted to do so.
This icon (egg tempera and gold leaf on wood panel, 28” x 22”) is “based on a fifteenth century Greek prototype; here Christ is shown in Latin Rite vestments with a gold pelican over His heart, the ancient symbol of self-sacrifice. The borders contain a windig grapevine and altar prepared for the celebration of the liturgy of the Mass; in the borders are smaller icons of Melchizedek and St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney.” Incidentally, it is St. John Vianney whom Pope Benedict XVI, with the announcement of this special year, has declared the Universal Patron of Priests.
Czarnecki explains: “I wrote the icon about seven years ago [for seminarians and priests] to be able to see Christ in themselves, and themselves in Christ. We often hear that the icon is called a window; in this case, it’s also meant to be a mirror.” The Good Shepherd reminds the priest that he is to “lay down his life for his sheep.” (www.seraphicrestorations.com)
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