Clergy Congregation to the priests: “Be holy!”

In a letter published on the occasion of the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of the Clergy, taking place on the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, 15 June this year, the Congregation for the Clergy writes a letter (translation)to the world’s priests. The letter, signed by the Congregation’s prefect, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza (pictured), and secretary Archbishop Celso Morga Iruzubieta, focusses on St. Paul’s appeal to all Christians: “This is the will of God: your holiness!” (1 Thess. 4:3).

The authors firmly relate the letter to the upcoming Year of Faith and the anniversaries of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and also the upcoming General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will focus on the new evangelisation. These latter three events must be the focus of priests everywhere in the framework of the Year of Faith.

The final paragraph outlines why priests especially need to be holy:

“Today’s world, with its ever more painful and preoccupying lacerations, needs God – The Trinity, and the Church has the task to proclaim Him. In order to fulfil this task, the Church must remain indissolubly embraced with Christ and never part from Him; it needs Saints who dwell “in the heart of Jesus” and are happy witnesses of God’s Trinitarian Love. And in order to serve the Church and the World, Priests need to be Saints!”

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Preparing for Madrid

Next month I’ll be away from my usual haunts, digital and otherwise. There will be little time for blogging or any other social media activity, for Iĺl be at the World Youth Days in Madrid, Spain, from 10 to 23 August, with a group of about 100 young people, youth workers and clergy from the Archdiocese of Utrecht. Yesterday This weekend, the organising team hosted a preparatory weekend for all attendees. I was only able to join them for the Saturday, but I did get the core of the information and preparation on offer.

There were several aspects to the weekend: practical, social and spiritual. Father Hans Pauw, one of the archdiocesan regional vicars, covered the first aspect, going over the program and events in both Zaragoza and Madrid; there were games and sports activities to get to know the other attendees; and youth worker Hao Tran spoke about topics such as ‘God is love’ and our image of God that plays a major role in our relationship with Him. The day ended with a time of Adoration, Confession and prayer.

Some photographic impressions:

Young people from all over the archdiocese (and beyond) arrive at the primary school where the weekend was held
The core team of the archdiocesan trip to Madrid makes its introductions
Fr. Pauw goes over the practicals
Lunch time in the school yard.
The story of the prodigal son in sketch form, to underline the mercy of God
Tug-of-war, the girls versus (most of) the boys
Diahann from the Faculty of Catholic Theology hands out key chains and information about studying theology
Bishop Theodorus Hoogenboom, auxiliary of the archdiocese, comes to say hi, encourage us, and link his last name (literally meaning 'high tree') to the motto of this edition of the WYD: "Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith"
Bishop Hoogenboom kneels before the Blessed Sacrament
Sacred Heart of Jesus, guide and inspire us!

Prayers for the pope: the Dutch contribution

Pope Benedict during the Corpus Christi celebrations in Rome, yesterday

As mentioned earlier here, Cardinal Piacenza has written to the bishops of the world with the request that they organise 60 hours of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, for the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s ordination to priest, five days from today. A number of Dutch dioceses have responded positively and announced various prayer vents and moments. An overview.

The Archdiocese of Utrecht announces various initiatives in its three vicariates, most of them by religious orders. The 60 hours are easily reached, and the Community of St. John at the church of St. Gerard Majella in Utrecht is the greatest contributor with the better of 40 hours of Adoration offered. The ‘pink’ Sisters of the Cenacle, also in Utrecht, will pray for the pope from Corpus Christi to the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart. The Basilica of St. Lambert in Hengelo and the church of St. Martin in Arnhem also contribute. In Wageningen, there will be two all-night vigils per week. The link above also features an extensive list of other initiatives.

The Diocese of Roermond has created a rotating schedule for all the diocese’s fourteen deaneries. Every day, a different one will hold several hours of Adoration.

The Diocese of ‘s Hertogenbosch mentions Adoration in several major towns, as well as at the cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, where the 60 hours will be concluded on 4 July, during the annual day for priests.

In the Diocese of Breda Adoration will take place in the Community of Chemin Neuf in Oosterhout, the cathedral of St. Anthony, the Bovendonk seminary and the seminarians’ St. Anthony House.

The Diocese of Rotterdam, then, the Blessed Sacrament has been exposed every day of this week for Adoration, between the morning Mass of 9:30 until 22:30. The local parish as well as various international parishes in Rotterdam joined in this Adoration.

Five out of the seven dioceses in the Netherlands responded well to Cardinal’s request. It must be said that these are the initiatives that have been publicly announced. There are bound to be more which are limited to local faith communities, prayer groups and parishes. The involvement of religious communities, especially in Utrecht, but also in Roermond, is encouraging. Their efforts, especially those of young groups such as the Community of St. John, are often overlooked, but they play a very important part in the communication and witness of faith, especially among young people.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito