Catholics worldwide are urged to pray for priests today on the World Day of Prayer for Priests. The day was begun by Pope John Paul II in 2002 with the objective of having all Catholic faithful join in prayer for the sanctification of priests.
It was the late pontiff’s desire that the World Day of Prayer for Priests would coincide with the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which is always celebrated on the tenth Friday after Easter Sunday.
The theme for this year’s World Day of Prayer for Priests, issued by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy, is “I have called you friends.” The theme is based on Pope Benedict’s XVI’s homily at the annual Chrism Mass this past Holy Thursday.
A website, www.worldpriestday.com, offers a special prayer for priests, suggestions for parish activities, e-cards for laity to send their thanks to clergy and a children’s section, which includes posters children can color and give to their priests with messages of thanks.
Clergy and laity can also log on and share stories of the impact and significance of the priesthood in their lives. The site invites Catholics to stop for a moment at 3 p.m. and reflect thankfully on the presence of priestly ministry in their lives.