The Cognregation for the Clergy has issued a letter to the bishops of the world noting that the Year of Priests, decreed by Pope Benedict XVI to take place June 19, 2009 through June 19, 2010, is an occasion for “rediscovering the beauty and importance of the priesthood and the ordained,” as well as for promoting vocations.
The letter signed by the Congregation’s prefect Cardinal Claudio Hummes invites bishops to utilize the Year of Priests as an opportunity to raise awareness among “the entire holy people of God: consecrated men and women, Christian families, those who suffer, and above all, young people who are so sensitive to great ideals lived out with authentic courage and constant fidelity.”
Likewise, the cardinal writes, the Year of Priests will be a privileged occasion “for a theological-spiritual deepening and pastoral ministry, of benefit first of all to priests themselves, called to renew their awareness of their own identity, and consequently, to reinvigorate the missionary zeal that springs forth from divine intimacy, from ‘being’ with the Lord.”
After encouraging the use of the media to announce the Year of Priests and the resources at www.clerus.org, the cardinal urges priests to remember that the initiative by Benedict XVI is an event that “should be experienced above all as an interior renewal in the joyous rediscovery of one’s own identity, of the fraternity of the priesthood and of the sacramental relationship with one’s own bishop.”
Cardinal Hummes also reported that during the Year of Priests a new Directory for Confessors and Spiritual Directors will be published, as well as a collection of texts by Benedict XVI on certain essential aspects of the life and mission of priests in today’s world.