Pope Benedict XVI has declared as “Year of the Priest” the period that stretches from the feast of the Sacred Heart June 2009 to the same feast day in 2010.

The occasion for such an observance is the 150th anniversary of the death of the Cure of Ars, St. John Mary Vianney. The motto of the Year of the Priest is – “Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfullness of the Priest.” The Holy Father himself has already indicated that the main purpose of this special year is the sanctification of all priests. This is surely a very important objective, whose necessity and positive effects go well beyond some sort of “reparation” for all the scandals caused by the misbehavior of a number of priests. The sanctification of the clergy is a vital necessity in the life of the Church. Its positive effects concern all Catholics, and not just the priests. We are all interested, then, in the fruitfullness of this Year of the Priest.

One way of defining a priest is to state that he is (should be) “the man of God’s Word”, or “the man of the Word” for short.

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