Pope Benedict XVI has announced a new jubilee year, the Year of the Priest, to begin on June 19, 2009.
During the March plenary session of the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, the Pope called for the new year to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Marie Vianney, the Cure of Ars, and for the "spiritual renewal" of the Church's priests.
"The missionary dimension of a priest arises from his sacramental configuration to Christ the head," said the Pope, highlighting the "indispensable struggle for moral perfection which must dwell in every truly priestly heart."
"The ecclesial, communional, hierarchical and doctrinal dimension is absolutely indispensible for any authentic mission, and this alone guarantees its spiritual effectiveness," said Pope Benedict, adding that priests must 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."
In highlighting the Year of the Priest, Pope Benedict called upon the example of St. John Vianney. The humble French diocesan priest was assigned to the rural and spiritually dying town of Ars in central France. Through his example of personal holiness and attention to the sacraments, St. John was able to transform his parish. Pilgrims from all over the world came to receive the sacrament of reconciliation from the Curé of Ars, as he became known.
At Aquinas and More we think this jubilee year is a wonderful opportunity to recognize and to honor all the priests in the Church, who touch and transform our lives, who bring us Christ in the holy sacraments, and who act in His place now on this earth. When was the last time you let the priest(s) in your life know how much their service and sacrifice has meant to you and to your family? We also hope that the year helps to foster an increase in vocations to the priesthood. Parents of young boys, take note! Don't forget that you parents are active participants with Christ in fostering vocations and helping young men, especially, in their discernment to a possible priestly vocation.
In honor of this celebration, we have set up a new specialty store here at Aquinas and More. Please visit our new jubilee Year of the Priest specialty store by clicking here.
This year is also an opportunity to learn more about St. John Marie Vianney, popularly known as the Cure of Ars, and his life and his work. To view our selection of books and other items about this amazing saint, please click here.
St. John Vianney, patron of priests, help us to pray for our priests today and always. Amen.