Year for Priests special feature 19 June 2009 – 11 June 2010

29 Jun 2009

Pope Benedict XVI has established a special Year for Priests from 19 June 2009 until 11 June 2010, to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the death of St John Vianney, the holy Curé d’Ars, Patron of Priests.

Title image: St John Vianney, the holy Curé d’Ars

Throughout the Year for Priests, articles on priesthood by Irish Bishops will be published here, as well as Vatican documents relating to the Year for Priests initiative, relevant videos, online resources and a calendar of events. Please check back regularly for updates.

Year for Priests calendar of events update

June 15, 2010 |Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor marks the end of the Year for Priests with an address to Irish priests in Maynooth

The Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor was the guest speaker at the Maynooth Union Celebrations on Tuesday 15 June 2010. The address was written and the invitation extended prior to his appointment by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI as the apostolic visitor for the Archdiocese of Armagh. Press release and full text of address …


Further details of the event on

Image gallery from the event …

Details of other events during the Year for Priests …

13 June 2010 |Benedict XVI: Priests be hard-working witnesses

Pope Benedict XVI renewed his thanks to faithful priests throughout the world at the traditional Sunday Angelus in St Peter’s Square. He said he hopes that the figure of holy Curé of Ars, St John Marie Vianney, might continue to provide a nourishing example to priests in their personal conversation with God.

More videos relating to the Year for Priests …

Homily of Pope Benedict at the concluding Mass for the Year for Priests

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Friday 11 June 2010

Dear Brothers in the Priestly Ministry,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Year for Priests which we have celebrated on the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the death of the holy Curè of Ars, the model of priestly ministry in our world, is now coming to an end. We have let the Curé of Ars guide us to a renewed appreciation of the grandeur and beauty of the priestly ministry. The priest is not a mere office-holder, like those which every society needs in order to carry out certain functions. Instead, he does something which no human being can do of his own power: in Christ’s name he speaks the words which absolve us of our sins and in this way he changes, starting with God, our entire life. Full text …

Related video and Mass booklet are available on the Vatican website …

Articles by Bishops

20 April 2010 | Bishop Philip Boyce has written about the visit of the Relics of St John Vianney to Ireland for the Irish Times. Read more …

More articles on the priesthood by Irish Bishops …

Prayer of Pope Benedict XVI

Prayer recited by Pope Benedict XVI before the relics of Saint John Vianney on June 19th 2009 in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the opening of the Year for Priests:

feature pope benedict xviLord Jesus, who in Saint John Vianney desired to give to the Church a touching image of your pastoral charity, grant that, in his company and supported by his example, we may fully live this Year for Priests.
Grant that, like him, pausing before the Eucharist, we may learn how simple is your word that trains us daily; how tender is the love with which you welcome penitent sinners; how consoling is the confident trust in your Immaculate Mother.

O Lord Jesus, grant that through the intercession of the holy Curé of Ars, Christian families may become “little churches” in which all the vocations and charisms given by your Holy Spirit may be welcomed and valued. Give to us, Lord Jesus, the ability to repeat with the same ardour of the Curé of Ars the words he used to address you:

“I love you, my God, and only desire to love you until the last breath of my life. I love you o God infinitely lovable and I prefer to die loving you than to live a single moment without loving you.
I love you, Lord, and the one grace that I ask of you is to love you eternally.
My God, if my tongue is unable to say in every moment that I love you, I want my heart to repeat it as often as I breathe.
I love you, o Divine Saviour, because you were crucified for me and you hold me down here crucified with you.
My God, give me the grace to die loving you and knowing that I love you”.


Online resources

Saint John Vianney, the Curé of Ars

cure_darsThis year of 2009 marks the 150th anniversary of the death of Saint John Vianney, the Curé of Ars. On 16 March last, in an address to the members of the Congregation for the Clergy when he announced the forthcoming Year for Priests, the Holy Father highlighted the indispensable struggle for moral perfection which must dwell in every truly priestly heart’. He also called the Curé of Ars, ‘a true example of a pastor at the service of Christ’s flock’. The Pope inaugurated the Year on 19 June 2009, presiding at Vespers in St. Peter’s Basilica where the relics of the Curé of Ars were brought for the occasion by Bishop Guy Bagnard of Belley-Ars, France.

More about Saint John Vianney …

Letter of His Holiness Benedict XVI proclaiming a Year for Priests

In his letter, dated 16 June 2009, announcing the Year for Priests, the Holy Father explains that it is meant to deepen the commitment of all priests to interior renewal for the sake of a more forceful and incisive witness to the Gospel in today’s world.

Full text of letter …