The World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests will be celebrated by the universal Church on June 19, 2020. Occurring annually on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests was established by Pope St. John Paul II in 2002 and encourages priests to reflect upon the importance and dignity of their vocation.
In his Holy Thursday homily on April 9, 2020, Pope Francis reminded priests that in order to serve others, they must first allow themselves to be served by Christ. Just like Saint Peter, priests must be willing to be washed by Christ, forgiven by Christ, and loved by Christ so that they, in turn, may be dispensers of divine forgiveness and love to others. The Holy Father also remembered those courageous priests in hospital ministry who have died in service to their brothers and sisters suffering from coronavirus. He also commended those priests who serve prisoners and those ministering in remote parts of the world.
Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations echoed Pope Francis’ gratitude for priests during this time of the pandemic. “We give thanks to priests who are continuing to serve the people of God in this challenging time. Priests are the face of Christ and allow people to encounter Jesus, especially through the celebration of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. On this World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests, I encourage my brother priests to contemplate with gratitude the great gift Jesus has given us in our vocation. I ask the faithful to pray for all priests that they may be filled with joy and strength as they continue their important work of shepherding God’s people.”
More information on World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests and resources for healthy priestly life and ministry may be found at http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/vocations/priesthood/priestly-life-and-ministry/index.cfm.