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.
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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).
Yes, 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 us.
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 Vianney.
Those who are unable to be in City of Rome are encouraged to join themselves spiritually to the occasion.
– Entrance to the Basilica from 16.00
The welcoming of the Reliquary at 17.30, followed by the celebration of Vespers
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 June.
All those 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