.- The Congregation for Clergy has revealed significant details about the upcoming International Meeting of Priests that will be held in Rome next week. A Wednesday statement from the Vatican dicastery announced that the 9,000 priests are scheduled to attend and that the Pope will proclaim St. Jean Vianney the Patron of all Priests at the closing Mass.
The Year for Priests was inaugurated by Pope Benedict XVI on June 19 of last year and will be closed by him with a Mass in St. Peter’s Square on June 11. Last spring, he defined the year-long initiative as a “time to deepen the commitment of all priests to interior renewal for the sake of a more forceful and incisive witness to the Gospel in today’s world.”
A June 2 statement from the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy detailed the events set to take place in Rome from June 9 -11, marking the final days of the special year.
According to the prefect of the Vatican congregation, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, the objective of the initiative is to highlight a “spiritual renewal,” a new beginning and not a “conclusion.” He also said he hopes closing events will lead to a “rediscovery of the grandeur of the sacrament that configures to Christ, High Priest.”
Events along the course of the three days will include meditations, Masses and a congress on the figure of the priest. Pope Benedict XVI will meet twice with all participants, first during a prayer vigil on Thursday evening and then at Mass on Friday morning.
The statement from the Congregation for Clergy announced that Thursday’s vigil event will be broadcast from the Vatican simultaneously to Ars, France, the Cenacle in Jerusalem, the “Favelas” of Buenos Aires and Hollywood. The Pope is scheduled to make an address to all priests at this time.
More than 600 young musicians and singers from Italian institutions will perform at the vigil.
At the final Mass, which coincides with the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Holy Father will proclaim the Year's patron, St. Jean Vianney, the Patron of all Priests. St. Jean is currently only the patron of parish priests.
In addition to the 9,000 priests from 91 countries that have registered for the final meeting, seminarians, deacons, religious brothers and sisters and lay faithful will also participate in the three-day event.