The World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests was instituted by St. John Paul II in 1995.
United States – Washington (June 10, 2021 21:52, Gaudium Press) On the occasion of the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests, celebrated this Friday, June 11, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) published a message to priests inviting them to embrace the Cross for the Gospel.
Preaching the Gospel provokes rejection and isolation
The document, signed by Bishop James F. Checchio, chairman of the USCCB Commission for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, points out that “preaching the Gospel gradually provokes rejection and isolation. Priests also face this harsh reality. However, the Bishops point out that ‘the power of the Cross always prevails.'”
“I urge all priests, especially those who are suffering in a special way, to remember that they do not carry their crosses alone; it is through and thanks to the Cross of Christ that we receive all the strength we need for the challenges we face,” says Bishop Checcio.
The proclamation of the Gospel is intrinsically linked to persecution
The Prelate quoted words pronounced by Pope Francis during a Chrism Mass, a ceremony when priestly promises are renewed: “the proclamation of the Gospel is intrinsically linked to persecution and that the weight of the Cross was present in the entire life of Our Lord, from the beginning to the end.”
The message concludes by pointing out that just as Our Lord Jesus Christ “embraced his sufferings at every moment of his earthly life, so must his priests do, for on the Cross there can be no ambiguity! The Cross is non-negotiable.”
Origin of the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests
St. John Paul II instituted the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests in 1995, and it is celebrated annually on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The goal is to encourage priestly reflection on their ministry’s gift and ask the faithful to pray that priests may be strengthened and remain firm in their commitment to the Lord.