Vatican City, Mar 16, 2009: The Holy Father announced that the Church will celebrate a special year for priests beginning on June 19, 2009. The year will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the death of St. Jean Vianney, Cure of Ars.
He noted that the year also marks the "150th anniversary of the death of the Saint, the 'Cure of Ars', Jean Marie Vianney, a true example of a pastor at the service of Christ's flock."
The Pope will inaugurate the Year on June 19 by presiding at Vespers in St. Peter's Basilica, where the relics of the 'Cure of Ars' will be brought for the occasion by Bishop Guy Bagnard of Belley-Ars, France.
During the course of the Year, Benedict XVI will proclaim St. Jean Marie Vianney as the patron Saint of all the priests of the world. A "Directory for Confessors and Spiritual Directors" will also be published, as will a collection of texts by the Holy Father on essential aspects of the life and mission of priests in our time.
year will close June 19, 2010, with Pope Benedict presiding at a "World
Meeting of Priests" in St. Peter's Square.
The mission is ecclesial "because no-one announces or brings themselves, ... but brings Another, God Himself, to the world. God is the only wealth that, definitively, mankind wishes to find in a priest."
"The mission is communal," he continued, "because it takes place in a unity and communion which only at a secondary level possess important aspects of social visibility."
He added that the 'hierarchical' and 'doctrinal' dimensions emphasize the importance of ecclesiastical discipline (a term related to that of 'disciple') and of doctrinal (not just theological, initial and permanent) formation."
The Pope also stressed the importance of priestly formation which must maintain "communion with unbroken ecclesial Tradition, without pausing or being tempted by discontinuity. In this context," he continued, "it is important to encourage priests, especially the young generations, to a correct reading of the texts of Vatican Council II, interpreted in the light of all the Church's doctrinal inheritance."
Roman pontiff closed by warning of the "dilution" of priestly
ministry. He explained that the without priests, "there would be
Eucharist, no mission" or the Church. "It is necessary then, to ensure
that 'new structures' or pastoral organizations are not planned for a
time in which it will be possible to 'do without' ordained ministry, on
the basis of an erroneous interpretation of the promotion of the laity,
because this would lay the foundations for a further dilution in
priestly ministry, and any supposed 'solutions' would, in fact,
dramatically coincide with the real causes of the problems currently
affecting the ministry."