Friday, June 19th begins the Year For Priests as declared by Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI. The year begins on the 150th anniversary of death of St. John Vianney, a holy parish priest who lived out his days ministering for the care of souls in Ars, France. He was a contemporary of Blessed Basil Moreau, CSC and was likewise dedicated to remaining faithful to and building up the Church throughout the devastating years and effects of the French Revolution.
Tomorrow is also the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the titular feast for the priest society of the Congregation of Holy Cross. Blessed Moreau wrote, "In human language the heart is the synonym and symbol of love. To give one's heart is to give love. Jesus speaks our language when he holds out ot us his heart, which of itself tells the story of his love. The prmary purpose of the devotion to the Saced Heart is to return love for love."
I've mentioned to friends that during this Year for Priests I can park wherever I want, not leave tips, and win every argument by simply saying, "Umm, it's the Year for Priests." And, unfortunately, some commentators have written laments that this year only glorifies a group of clerical and power hungry men. This is sad.
Clearly it is the hope of the Holy Father that this Year for Priests be a time when we priests recommit ourselves to Christ and His Church, seek inspiration from St. Vianney, and that all Christians, lay and ordained, can see better the great and fundamental gift the priesthood is to the very nature and life of the Church. May this be so.