On World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests, Pray for Priests to be Faithful Stewards and Strengthened in Service to the Gospel
WASHINGTON – On June 16, the Catholic Church observes the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests. Established by Saint John Paul II in 2002, this celebration occurs annually on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. On this day, priests are encouraged to reflect on the dignity of their vocation and be renewed in their priestly commitment to serving Christ and His Church. The faithful, too, are invited to pray for their priests that they may be faithful stewards and strengthened in their service to the Gospel.
In his homily during the Holy Chrism Mass this year, Pope Francis exhorted priests, especially in times of discouragement, to remember the power of the anointing they have received from the Holy Spirit: “An anointing that penetrates to the depths of our reality, where the Spirit anoints our weaknesses, our weariness, our inner poverty. An anointing that brings a new fragrance: that of the Spirit, not of ourselves. At this very moment, inwardly, I am thinking of some of you who are in crisis – let’s say – who are disoriented and do not know how to find their way, how to get back on the road of this second anointing of the Spirit. To these brothers – of whom I am thinking – I simply say: courage, the Lord is greater than your weaknesses, your sins. Trust the Lord and let yourself be called a second time, this time with the anointing of the Holy Spirit.”
Bishop Earl A. Boyea of Lansing, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, expressed his gratitude to priests for their service. “It’s not easy to carry out priestly ministry in the midst of the challenges presented by the world,” he said. “I am grateful for the steadfast faith and holy witness of many priests who daily pick up their cross in service to Christ and the salvation of the world. The World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests is a day when we can pray in a special way for our priests, so they may be faithful stewards and strengthened in their service to the Gospel.”
May Mary, the Mother of Priests, intercede for all priests so that they may be ever more conformed, in the daily sacrifice of their lives, to the Person of Her Son, Jesus Christ, Victim, and Priest. Amen.