Vatican City, Jun 11, 2010 / 11:03 am America/Denver (CNA).
An estimated 15,000 priests attended a prayer vigil last night in St. Peter's Square. The priests, who hail from 97 different countries, gathered as part of the celebrations marking the close of the Year for Priests.
Rome has been inundated with priests from around the world for the past week due to the celebrations for the end of the Year for Priests. Thursday night's two-part prayer vigil was attended by not only priests, but by Pope Benedict and Cardinal Claudio Hummes O.F.M., prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.
The first part of the vigil featured live television feeds and allowed the gathered priests to see and share the testimony of a variety of people who are living their vocation: a Germany family with six children, a cloistered nun, a deacon, an Argentinean priest who works with the poor and a pastor from Hollywood, Calif. all shared the story of their vocation.
Pope Benedict then arrived in the square by popemobile and was greeted by Cardinal Hummes. In his remarks, the cardinal noted that this Year for Priests has served to “promote commitment to interior renewal among all clergy, for an evangelical witness that is more powerful and incisive in the modern world.”
Speaking on behalf of the gathered priests, and that of priests around the world, Cardinal Hummes said: