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10 Ways You Can Celebrate the 2009 Year of the Priest

by James on July 28, 2009

You may think that as a layperson there isn't much you can do to celebrate the year of the priest.  All it will mean for a lot of people is mumbling a vocations prayer after Mass.  Here are some "additional" ideas you might consider.  Don't dismiss any because they might be hard.  You have all year.

10. Invite a priest out to dinner.

You may think that someone else is already doing it but that may not be the case.  Many diocesan priests don't live in community and they may not get to spend much leisure time with their fellow priests.  Even a bad evening at your home or in a restaurant is probably better than a good evening with the finance council.

9. Send a thank you note to a priest for giving a good homily.

Whether you're visiting a parish on vacation or sitting in your regular pew, if you hear a good homily let that priest know.  Imagine giving a 15 minute speech once a week to glazed donuts people and never knowing if you've had any effect on them.  There's no clapping after a sermon so unless you make an effort to thank a priest for his homily, he isn't going to know you appreciated it.

8. Refrain from using your pastor's emergency number unless there is an actual emergency.

Yeah, he takes too long to return your phone call when you leave a message the normal way, but do you really want his emergency cell phone ringing when he's hearing confessions?

7. Volunteer at your parish.

Maybe your pastor hasn't returned that important call because he's mowing the lawn, unstopping a toilet, or doing something else YOU SHOULD BE DOING FOR HIM.  His primary concern should be shepherding his flock, not ironing his vestments.  If menial labor is not a possibility for you, consider volunteering to fill a slot on the Adoration roster.  He needs that too.

6. Gift him.

You might have a hundred reasons for only putting $1 in the collection basket... the choir is bad, the building fund is a catastrophy, they keep the church too cold...  How about donating an item to a parish.  Warning: shameless product plug.  Right now you can purchase a chasuble from us and get a free clergy shirt to replace that faded one he probably wears.  You can also encourage your church to set up a registry with us so they get the items that they need.

5. Go to confession.

This really helps you more than anyone else but it also allows your priest to live his vocation.  Honor your priest and get in line.  The solution to short and irregular confessions times is YOU going to confessions regularly.

4. Learn more about the lives of saintly priests.

We're making it easy for you this year.  Yeah, we have lots of books about saints but our newsletter subscribers are also being treated to a monthly biography of a lesser known priest who has lived a life of heroic virtue.  These are the priests that inspire vocations.

3. Pray for vocations.

Get a copy of that prayer they're saying at your parish and pray it at home too.  You should not only be praying for new vocations but also for existing vocations.  Pray for your pastor's vocation.  Pray for his faithfulness.  Pray for his spiritual growth.

2. Foster religious vocations within your family.

God might be calling one of your sons to the priesthood.  Don't resist it!  Happiness lies in living the life God has planned for you and a life of service to Him is His greatest calling.

1. Give up criticizing priests.

Not just for Lent.  Do it all year.  Do it forever.  How is it different from gossip?  Criticizm wears people down and makes them less effective in their work.   If you're really looking for change in your parish or pastor then consider doing some of the other nine things on this list.  Take this opportunity to say a prayer of thanksgiving that you have a priest to say Mass and administer the sacraments. 


Visit the official Year of the Priest website.

Visit our Year of the Priest specialty store.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Fran July 28, 2009 at 5:53 pm

Great ideas. Perhaps #1 will be the hardest for many, but what a good resolution for this “Year of the Priest.” Everytime we are tempted to criticize, saying a prayer would be a better choice. And we would accomplish 2 of the 10 suggestions!


Barbara Martin July 30, 2009 at 11:56 am


These are great suggestions. I just heard a very good homily in Estes over the weekend and the thought crossed my mind to send the pastor a note about how much I appreciated it. Now you have given me the impetus to actually get the task done. Thanks.

Aunt BArbara


James July 31, 2009 at 2:18 pm

I’m glad to hear that. Many times I’ve liked my pastor’s homily and intended to say something, but never actually did. This year I’m going to.


Lorenzo A. Gurreri August 7, 2009 at 4:01 pm

These are great suggestions. We do need to let our priests know how much we appreciate their work. What if we didn’t have the Mass or opportunity to go to reconciliation which I am sure is the case in less developed countries.


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