Prayer to Mark Pope's Priestly Anniversary

Benedict XVI to Celebrate 60 Years as a Priest June 29

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WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 26, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The U.S. bishops want to know how your parish is planning to prepare for and celebrate the 60th anniversary of Benedict XVI's ordination to the priesthood.

The Pope will celebrate his anniversary on June 29, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. The Congregation for Clergy has issued an appeal to Catholics worldwide to mark the Pope's anniversary with 60 hours of Eucharistic prayer for vocations and the sanctification of the clergy.        

According to a statement of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, dioceses nationwide are planning to organize prayers before the Blessed Sacrament throughout the month of June. Some celebrations will conclude on July 1, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the World Day of Prayer for Priests.

"Dioceses and parishes are asked to share information on how they are celebrating the anniversary in prayer," the statement added. To advise the bishops of any activities in local parishes or dioceses, send an email to clergy@usccb.org.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the bishops' conference, highlighted the importance of this celebration in a letter to the bishops last week. He called prayer for vocations "a worthy intention" and an appropriate spiritual sacrifice "in gratitude for the example and service of Benedict XVI."

 "An increase in number and sanctity of the priests in service to our dioceses is a sign of health and vitality in the Church," he added.

Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis, chairman for the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, said that the occasion "is an exceptional opportunity to give thanks for our Holy Father, to pray for all of our priests, and to ask the Lord for more vocations to the priesthood."          

"The Holy Father has been an outstanding model of priestly ministry and service to the Church," he added. "In his Message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Proposing Vocations in the Local Church, he reminded the faithful that we all have a responsibility to pray for vocations. This is a great opportunity to do just that."

The Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations of the bishops' conference has designed a prayer card for the Pope's anniversary that can be downloaded from www.foryourvocation.org.

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On the Net:

Prayer for Priests: www.foryourvocation.org/upload/Priest-Prayer-Card-for-print.pdf