Thank God for Holy Priests!
The reasons for this celebration (of Priesthood Sunday) should be obvious. The number of priests per Catholic has declined over the past 40 years. This makes it more difficult for individual parishioners to establish a close relationship with any one particular priest. When I was growing up, our pastor served in our parish for 34 years. My mom and dad knew him well. His presence and service were significant factors in the story of my own vocation. Furthermore, priests are no longer the only ones who offer pastoral care to our people. Yet without a priest, no parish is able to be a Eucharistic community. It is important to reaffirm the importance of the priesthood of Jesus Christ and its central place in the life of our Church.
-Archbishop John G. Vlazny, Archdiocese of Portland
On October 30, 2016, Catholic parishes throughout the United States will show support for their priests with prayer, celebration and dialogue. The last Sunday of October is designated as Priesthood Sunday, a one-day celebration of the priesthood organized by parish lay leaders and coordinated by the USA Council of Serra International.
“The purpose of Priesthood Sunday is to engage every level of the church in the United States in a national conversation about the priesthood,” said Rev. Richard Vega, President of the National Federation of Priests’ Councils. NFPC represents more than 26,000 U.S. priests.
Priesthood Sunday was established in 2003 to provide a way for Catholic communities to express appreciation for the devoted priests who serve them so faithfully despite recent negative attention in the media. Such a celebration is increasingly relevant in light of the declining number of priests in the U.S. Only about 4,000 of the 19,000 parishes in this country currently have more than one priest. Many priests serve two or more parishes by themselves.
The lay faithful of each parish, school or other ministry are asked to develop their own special way of marking the day and honoring both priesthood and their own priests. Special liturgies, Priesthood Sunday celebrations and the opening of a dialogue between priests and parishioners are encouraged. Priesthood Sunday is traditionally celebrated on the last Sunday of October, but some dioceses and parishes may celebrate at a different time to coincide with other planned events.
Lay parish leaders are invited to visit www.priestsunday.org for suggested liturgies, social celebrations, reflections, and downloadable graphics, guides and posters.
SOME EXAMPLE OF EVENTS
- COFFEE & DONUTS OR COOKIES AFTER MASS WITH YOUR PRIEST, THANKING HIM
- POT LUCK DINNER WITH A PROGRAM – SIGN IN THE VESTIBULE THANKING YOUR PRIEST
- ARTICLE IN THE CHURCH BULLETIN ABOUT PRIESTHOOD SUNDAY AND YOUR PRIEST
- PICTURES OF ALL YOUR PAST AND PRESENT PASTORS AND PRIESTS
- DISPLAY SCHOOL AND CCD STUDENTS CARDS & POSTERS THAT THEY MADE THANKING THEIR PRIEST, WITH OTHER MATERIALS ABOUT VOCATION TO THE PRIESTHOOD
- PRAY PRAYERS FOR VOCATIONS TO THE PRIESTHOOD AT MASS
- KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS HONOR GUARD AT MASS
- CHECK SERRA CLUB OF YOUNGSTOWN FACEBOOK PAGE — 19 WAYS TO LET YOUR PARISH PRIEST KNOW YOU APPRECIATE HIM