Skip to comments.Celebrating the Year of the Priesthood
Posted on 06/20/2009 8:16:50 AM PDT by bdeaner
Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict VXI has dedicated to the Priesthood the year-long celebration that spans from June 19, 2009 until 2010.
The life and worship of the Catholic faithful is liturgical and sacramental. As such, the Priesthood is central, and as essential as DNA, to our concept of worship. This year, we as Catholics will reflect, meditate and pray on everything related to the Priesthood, beginning with our call to participation in the common priesthood in order to better understand the call to the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood in both degrees, Presbyterate [priests] and Episcopacy [bishops], as well as in the Deaconate, who assist them and share in their ordination to the Holy Orders.
According to our Christian tradition, the Old Covenant priesthood prefigured the High Priesthood of the Christ, as the 'one mediator between God and men.' [1 Tim 2:5-6] In this same tradition, Melchizedek as 'priest of God Most High' who makes an offering of bread and wine and a blessing [Gen 14:18] prefigures Jesus Christ, the unique 'high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.' [Hebrews 5:6, 5:10, 6:19-20, 7:17] If Jesus instructed us to simply say twice 'Amen, amen' whenever we want to stress point, the Word no doubt wanted to stress this one point, since I found it at least four times in Scriptures. Tradition also says that 'Only Christ is the true priest, the others being only his ministers.' [Catechism of the Catholic Church #1545]
'Christ is the source of all priesthood: the priest of the old law was a figure of Christ, and the priest of the new law acts in the person of Christ.' [#1548 Catechism of the Catholic Church]
The ministerial or hierarchical priesthood of all bishops and priests is at the service of the common priesthood of all the baptized faithful and 'directed at the unfolding of the baptismal grace of all Christians.' As the Catechism puts it, 'the ministerial priesthood is a means by which Christ unceasingly builds up and leads His Church.' It further states that 'for this reason it is transmitted by its own sacrament, the sacrament of Holy Orders.' [#1547 Catechism of the Catholic Church]
In their ministry of service, priests represent Christ to us, as our shepherds and pastors, as preachers and teachers of the Word, and as celebrants of the Liturgy and the Sacraments, with the authority 'to act in the power and place of the person of Christ Himself,' granted by their ordination into Holy Orders. Priests not only represent Christ to the faithful, they also represent us to God when presenting our prayers, and especially when offering the Eucharistic sacrifice to God, 'through Him, with Him, in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, to God the Father.' As in Pentecost, with the Holy Spirit outpouring onto the Apostles, the Bishops - representing the Lord's Apostles - transmit forward the ordination into Holy Orders by the imposition of hands.
'In the beautiful expression of St. Ignatius of Antioch, the bishop is typos tou Patros: he is like the living image of God the Father.' [#1549 Catechism of the Catholic Church]
Though each bishop is directly responsible for the pastoral care of a particular church, all bishops share responsibility for the church in general, and for the apostolic mission of the church. Bishops and priests have deacons, which can be married men, as helpers to assist in the celebration of the divine ministries, as well as with distribution of the Eucharist, blessing of marriages, presiding over funerals, preaching the Gospel, and various charity ministries.
During this official Year of the Priesthood dedicated by the Holy Father, let us celebrate by keeping all priests in our constant prayers of petition and of thanksgiving to the Lord. And, as we pray asking for more vocations to this call, let us thank Our Lord for the great gift of the Holy Orders - and in particular that of the Priesthood.
Year of the Priest Letter (Media immediately scrutinize its contents for controversy)
Year of the Priest [Catholic Caucus]
The Year for Priests [Catholic Caucus]
Year of the Priest Begins Friday
U.S. bishops launch website for Year for Priests
The Year of the Priest
We thank you, God our Father, for those who have responded to your call to priestly ministry.
Accept this prayer we offer on their behalf: Fill your priests with the sure knowledge of your love.
Open their hearts to the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit.
Lead them to new depths of union with your Son.
Increase in them profound faith in the Sacraments they celebrate as they nourish, strengthen and heal us.
Lord Jesus Christ, grant that these, your priests, may inspire us to strive for holiness by the power of their example, as men of prayer who ponder your word and follow your will.
O Mary, Mother of Christ and our mother, guard with your maternal care these chosen ones, so dear to the Heart of your Son.
Intercede for our priests, that offering the Sacrifice of your Son, they may be conformed more each day to the image of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Saint John Vianney, universal patron of priests, pray for us and our priests