Movements Make Plans for Close of Priests' Year

Testimonies and Art Give Insight on Modern Challenges

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ROME, APRIL 27, 2010 ( Three lay Catholic movements are joining together to host an afternoon for priests in the context of the official closing ceremonies of the Year for Priests, scheduled for June in the Vatican.

Focolare, Schonstatt and the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal, with other ecclesial associations, are organizing «Priests Today.» It will be held June 9 in Paul VI Hall, the same day that the official closing ceremonies will begin.

Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, will preside over vespers, which will bring the movements’ afternoon to a close.

Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz, archbishop of Santiago, Chile, will give a theological testimony.

Others who will participate include a priest from Ireland, who will explain his personal experience of fidelity to God’s call; survivors from Burundi of an assault on the minor seminary of Buta; and a priest from Germany who overcame alcoholism with the help of his community.

Still others will speak on the experience of illness, of the affective life and celibacy lived in a context of fraternity, and of pastoral care in today’s multi-cultural and multi-religious environment.

The International Multiartistic Performing Group Gen Verde will host the artistic elements, together with priests from various countries. Seminarians from the International Centre of the Spirituality of Communion ‘Vinea Mea’ in Florence will present some choreographed pieces.

3 sections

The program of the afternoon entails three sections: «Men of God»; «Brothers Among Brothers»; and «Prophets in a New World.»

Each part will be introduced by a video of Benedict XVI. Thoughts from Chiara Lubich, founder of Focolare, and Father Joseph Kentenich, founder of Schonstatt, will also be presented.

The Priests Today ceremony is an attempt «to give an answer, using above all the language of testimony and art, to the great challenges that the Church and society present today to priests,» said the organizers.

Official program

The official closing celebrations of the Year for Priests are June 9-11 in Rome. The program will take priests to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls to reflect on the theme «Conversion and Mission.»

The archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, will give a conference, followed by Eucharistic adoration with the possibility of going to confession, and a Mass presided over by Cardinal Hummes.

The following day, priests will gather in the Basilica of St. Mary Major, with the theme «Cenacle: Invocation to the Holy Spirit with Mary in Fraternal Communion.»

That day, the speaker will be the archbishop of Quebec, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, and the Mass will be presided over by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope’s secretary of state.

In the evening, the priests will meet in St. Peter’s Square for testimonies and music, dialogue with Benedict XVI and Eucharistic adoration and benediction.

Finally, on June 11, Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the theme will be «With Peter, in Ecclesial Communion.» That day there will be Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, celebrated by the Pope.

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