PORTLAND---The Catholic Church will celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests on Friday, June 24. Established by Saint John Paul II in 2002, the celebration occurs annually on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. On this day, the Church encourages priests to prayerfully reflect upon the gift of their vocation. In the Diocese of Portland, many Maine priests are gathering together in East Millinocket and Brunswick on Thursday and Friday for presentations by Fr. Tom McKenna, C.M., on “Virtue Spirituality: How Practicing Virtue Enters into a Person's Spiritual Life.”
The faithful are also invited to mark this celebration by praying for all priests that they may live lives of holiness and fidelity to Christ and his Church and for the amazing way in which priests creatively reached out to care for the faithful during the pandemic.
Pope Francis has emphasized the importance of initial and ongoing formation in the life of the priest: “Formation understood as discipleship accompanies the ordained minister his entire life and regards his person as a whole, intellectually, humanly and spiritually. Initial and ongoing formation are distinct because each requires different methods and timing, but they are two halves of one reality, the life of a disciple cleric, in love with his Lord and steadfastly following Him.”
“Priesthood is about bringing the life and joy and message of the Gospel of Jesus to those we serve. It is something we do together, not only as priests but also as Church,” said Bishop Robert Deeley. “We give thanks for the gift of the priesthood and the way in which the Spirit of God has worked through the lives of faithful priests in helping them to persevere and be builders of hope together.”
To view resources for supporting the life and ministry of priests, click here. For more information about discerning a vocation, visit this special section on the Diocese of Portland’s Office of Vocations website. The section features a variety of helpful resources including information about the life of a priest in Maine, the path to the priesthood, the history of the presbyterate in Maine, vocation stories, answers to frequently asked questions, and ways to get in touch with the Office of Vocations and Seminarians.