The Holy Father states that when a man is ordained, he becomes ‘a new man’ participating in a new life, spiritually speaking, and that because of this, all priests are called to moral perfection and to be authentically pastorally effective.

Pope Benedict puts before all priests the example of St. John Mary Vianney, whom he describes as a true example of a pastor at the service of Christ’s flock.

The Holy Father affirms the importance of the prole of the priest in the wold, by telling priests that they bring to the world, Another, God himself.  God is the only treasure which ultimately people desire to find in a priest.

The Pontiff states that only by remaining faithful to unity, communion and tradition within the church, can priests, especially the younger generations, be present, identifiable and recognizable.  “As Church and as priests, we proclaim Jesus of Nazareth Lord and Christ, Crucified and Risen, Sovereign of time and of history, in the glad certainty that his truth coincides with the deepest expectations of the human heart”.

Finally, Pope Benedict affirms that the centrality of Christ brings with it the correct appreciation of the ministerial priesthood, without which there would be neither the Eucharist, not even the mission nor the Church herself.  And therefore whatever the future of the Church is, in these changing times, it should not be envisaged as ‘without’ the ordained ministry.

Speaking about the initiative, Cardinal Hummes, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, said “We need to love, honor and pray for our priests. We urge every reader of Catholic Online to do something to help our priests during this special year and to encourage preistly vocations in your family and your circle of relationships”.

He continued; “May it be a year as well of religious and of public celebration which will bring the people – the local Catholic community – to pray, to reflect, to celebrate, and justly to give honour to their priests”.

A webpage dedicated to the ‘Year’ is available at the National Vocations Wesite  Visit it regularly for updates throughout the year.