Notable quotations from Pope Benedict XVI and official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church
The year for priests which I wanted to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the death of the holy Cure d'Ars ... [began on] the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart and a Day of Priestly Sanctification. I entrust to your prayers this new spiritual initiative which will follow the Pauline Year... May this new Jubilee Year be a favorable opportunity for deepening the value and importance of the priestly mission and for asking the Lord to give numerous holy priests to the Church.
The purpose of this Year for Priests ... is ... to encourage every priest in this striving for spiritual perfection on which ... the effectiveness of their ministry depends, and ... to help priests and ... the entire People of God to rediscover and to reinforce their knowledge of the extraordinary, indispensable gift of Grace which the ordained minister represents for those who have received it, for the whole Church and for the world which would be lost without the Real Presence of Christ.
This Year [is] meant to deepen the commitment of all priests to interior renewal for the sake of a stronger and more incisive witness to the Gospel in today's world.
May the Year for Priests lead all priests to identify totally with the Crucified and Risen Jesus so that, in imitation of St. John the Baptist they may be prepared to "shrink" that Christ may grow and that, in following the example of the Cure d'Ars, they feel constantly and profoundly the responsibility of their mission, which is the sign and presence of God's infinite mercy.
To the Most Holy Virgin I entrust this Year for Priests. I ask her to awaken in the heart of every priest a generous and renewed commitment to the ideal of complete self-oblation to Christ and the Church which inspired the thoughts and actions of the saintly Cure of Ars.
Let us ask the Lord to set the heart of every priest afire with that "pastoral charity" which can make him one in heart and mind with Jesus ... and to imitate Jesus in complete self-giving.
Dear priests, Christ is counting on you. In the footsteps of the Cure of Ars, let yourselves be enthralled by Him. In this way you too will be, for the world in our time, heralds of hope, reconciliation and peace!
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