This Saturday, June 19, is the conclusion of the Year for Priests which began a year ago on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, June 19. Following the normal prescriptions (going to Confession and receiving Holy Communion, etc.), a person gains a plenary indulgence by praying for the sanctification of priests during this time period. The Holy Father established the Year for Priests in order that there be an increase of prayers for all priests now and also for men to respond affirmatively if they are called by God to become priests.
Jesus Christ established the priesthood in order that the work of salvation be continued everywhere in the world all the time. In the person of each priest, He absolves sins and changes bread and wine into His Body and Blood. He gives us the other Sacraments as well through his priests and bishops. Not only does Our Lord sanctify us this way, but He also teaches us through the faithful ministry of his priests.
Priests have free will like everyone else. Prayers are effective. Therefore, it is good for us and for the world to pray for priests. We pray that they each be faithful to their vocation. A priest is not a bachelor; rather he is one who lives God's call in and out of the public eye. His life is dedicated to prayer and work, whether this work be in a monastery, classroom, hospital, or parish. We pray that all priests do this faithfully and effectively.
May we pray for those whom God is calling to the priesthood. There are many temptations and environments that are not conducive to a positive answer. If God calls, He always gives the grace to live that life. That is why the priest is fulfilled and happy.
Even though the Year for Priests concludes at the end of this week, let us continue to pray for our priests and for an increase in priestly vocations.
Here is a short prayer that you might consider praying regularly:
Keep our priests, O Jesus,
in the safe citadel of your Sacred Heart
and there let them be sanctified in
Grant that, through their word,
multitudes may be brought
to believe in You and love You.