VATICAN CITY, JUNE 5, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is
the letter Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, secretary of the
Congregation for Clergy, sent to the priests of the world
ahead of the inauguration of the Year for
Priests. The year begins with vespers on the
feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, June 19. It
will close in June of 2010.
* * *
In only about two weeks’ time, on
the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Friday 19th
June, we will experience an intense moment of
faith, closely united with the Holy Father and amongst
ourselves, when we shall begin the Year for Priests
by celebrating First Vespers of the Feast in
the Basilica of St. Peter at the Vatican.
Each day we are
called to conversion, but we are called to it in
a very particular way during this year, in
union with all those who have received the gift of
priestly ordination. Conversion to what? It is conversion
to be ever more authentically that which we
already are, conversion to our ecclesial identity of which our
ministry is a necessary consequence, so that a
renewed and joyous awareness of our “being” will
determine our “acting”, or rather will create the space
allowing Christ the Good Shepherd to live in us
and to act through us.
Our spirituality must be nothing other than the
spirituality of Christ himself, the one and only
Supreme High Priest of the New Testament.
In this year, which the Holy
Father has providentially announced, we will seek together
to concentrate on the identity of Christ the
Son of God, in communion with the Father and the
Holy Spirit, who became man in the virginal
womb of Mary, and on his mission to reveal the
Father and His wondrous plan of salvation. This
mission of Christ carries with it the building
up of the Church: behold the Good Shepherd (Cf. Jn.
19:1-21) who gives his life for the Church
(Cf. Eph. 5: 25).
conversion every day of our lives so that
Christ’s manner of life may be the manner of life
made ever more manifest in each one of
We must exist
for others, we must undertake to live with
the People in a union of holy and divine love
(which clearly presupposes the richness of holy celibacy),
which obliges us to live in authentic solidarity
with those who suffer and who live in a great
many types of poverty.
We must be labourers for the building up of
the one Church of Christ, for which we
must live purposefully and faithfully the communion of love
with the Pope, with the Bishops, with our brother
priests and with the Faithful. We must live
this communion with the unbroken pilgrimage of the Church within
the very sinews of the Mystical Body.
We should be able to run
spiritually in this Year with a “wide open
heart” so as to inwardly conform to our
vocation the better to say, in truth “it is no
longer I who live but Christ who lives
in me” (Gal. 2:20).
The holiness of priests redounds to the benefit
of the entire ecclesial Body. Thus it would be most
fitting for all of us, be that the
ordained Faithful, seminarians, the male and female religious,
and the lay Faithful, to find ourselves all together at
the Vatican Basilica for the Vespers presided over
by the Holy Father, which will be celebrated after
welcoming the Reliquary of the heart of that most
outstanding priestly model who is St. John Mary
Those who are unable
to be in City of Rome are encouraged
to join themselves spiritually to the occasion.
- Entrance to the Basilica
The welcoming of
the Reliquary at 17.30, followed by the celebration
Entrance Tickets must
be requested by Fax (06-69885863) from the Prefecture
of the Papal Household and may be collected
the preceding day from the Bronze Doors, under the Colonnade
to the side of the Basilica.
- Priests will wear their proper clerical
attire, and religious the habit of the Institute
to which they belong.
The Year for Priests will conclude with an
International Convention in Rome on the 9th, 10th
and 11th of June 2010.
More detailed information concerning that event will be
made available by this end of the current month of
who are interested in taking part may refer to Opera
Romana Pellegrinaggi (Via della Pigna 13/a, I-00186 Roma
– tel. (0039)06-698961) to answer all questions of
a practical nature.
Titular Archbishop of Vittoriana