VATICAN CITY, JUNE 8, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Priests from around the world are gathering in Rome this week for the official closing of their year.
The Year for Priests, called by Benedict XVI, draws to a close with a Wednesday through Friday program of events. All the priests of the world have been invited to the celebration, which is being promoted by the Congregation for the Clergy and has as its theme: “Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of Priests.”
The program’s first day, Wednesday, 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, which will also be transmitted to the Basilica of St. John Lateran.
This will be followed by Eucharistic adoration with the possibility of going to confession, and a Mass presided over by Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, in St. Paul’s Outside the Walls. Another Mass will be presided over by Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, secretary of the Congregation for Clergy, in St. John Lateran.
On Thursday, 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 archbishop of Quebec, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, will give a mediation in St. Paul’s Outside the Walls (also to be transmitted to St. John Lateran). This will again be followed by adoration and the possibility of confession. Masses will be celebrated by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope’s secretary of state, in St. Paul’s; and by Archbishop Robert Sarah, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, in St. John Lateran.
Thursday evening, the priests will meet in St. Peter’s Square for testimonies and music, dialogue with Benedict XVI and Eucharistic adoration and benediction. There will also be television linkups with Ars, the Cenacle in Jerusalem, and poor neighborhoods of Buenos Aires and Hollywood.
Finally, on Friday, June 11, Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the theme will be “With Peter, in Ecclesial Communion.” That day the Pope will celebrate a 10 a.m. Mass, during which the clergy will renew their vows and the Holy Father will proclaim St. John Vianney as the patron saint of all priests. (He was previously recognized as the patron saint of parish priests and confessors.)