Pope Benedict XVI solemnly convoked the Year for Priests at St. Peter's Basilica on Friday evening, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart in the year of the 150th anniversary of St. Jean Vianney's death. The Pope's message for priests around the world was to urge them to grow in intimacy with Jesus.
“Our mission is indispensable for the Church and the world” and they both ask for “full faithfulness to Christ and relentless union with Him,” the Holy Father said as he opened the Year for Priests.
Pope Benedict made sure to tie in the anniversary of St. Jean Vianney's death, telling the assembled priests that he wanted to begin the Year “on the 150th anniversary of the death of the Holy Priest from the village of Ars.”
For the Pope, St. Jean Vianney's example is exemplary and calls the priests of today to “constantly try to achieve holiness, as St. Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney did.”
The Holy Father also touched on today's Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
"Priesthood is love for the Heart of Jesus," exclaimed Benedict XVI, recalling that “the gift of our priesthood originated directly from that Heart,”
Explaining his expectations for the Year for Priests, Pope Benedict said that he hopes it will be a chance for priests to grow in intimacy with Jesus and become “in today's world, messengers of hope, reconciliation, and peace."