Plans Ready for Closing Event of Year for Priests

Pope to Meet Twice With Participants

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VATICAN CITY, AUG. 17, 2009 ( Testimonies, prayer time, confession and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament are just some of the activities planned for the world meeting of priests that will close the Year for Priests next June.

In a letter dated last Friday, the Congregation for Clergy announced the itinerary for the June 9-11, 2010, event in Rome, Vatican Radio reported.

The first day will be celebrated in St. Paul’s Outside the Walls, with prayer and a conference on “Conversion and Mission.” There will also be adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, time for confession and the celebration of Mass.

Day two will bring the priests together in the Basilica of St. Mary Major where they will focus on the theme “The Upper Room: Invoking the Holy Spirit With Mary, in Fraternal Communion.” At the end of the day, the participants will be taken to St. Peter’s to celebrate a vigil service, with testimonies and music, as well as adoration.

Benedict XVI will participate in this latter event, offering a discourse to the priests.

Friday, June 11, solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, will be focused on the theme “With Peter, in Ecclesial Communion.” On that day, the Holy Father will celebrate Mass in St. Peter’s, closing the Year for Priests and marking the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Vianney, patron of parish priests.

The Congregation for Clergy has entrusted the organization of these events to the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, the Vatican institution whose mission is to evangelize through pastoral tourism and the ministry of pilgrimage.

The conference will follow the line of previous international priestly encounters held from 1996 to 2004 in Fatima, the Ivory Coast, Mexico, the Holy Land, Rome and Malta.

Priests who want to participate in the event should register with the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi (the Web site is presently only in Italian).

Precious opportunity

The Holy Father has recently reflected on the significance of the Year for Priests on various occasions. Last Aug. 2 during his Angelus address at Castel Gandolfo, he affirmed that the Year for Priests “is a precious opportunity to deepen our knowledge of the value of the mission of priests in the Church and in the world.”

He also pointed to “real models of spirituality and priestly devotion” whose feasts are celebrated in August: St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Cajetan da Thiene, St. Dominic and Pope Paul VI.

Last Aug. 5, during the general audience dedicated to a reflection on St. John Vianney, Benedict XVI invited the faithful during this year to pray that “God will give holy priests to his Church and will increase in the faithful the desire to sustain and help them in their ministry.”

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