Letter from NRVC Executive Director on the Year for Priests
Dear NRVC Member:
The National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) is pleased to present materials on our website in commemoration of the Year for Priests, which begins in the Church on June 19, 2009, the Feast of the Sacred Heart.
Pope Benedict XVI, in his March 13, 2009, address announcing this special year, has asked both diocesan Ordinaries and superiors of religious institutes “to promote and to coordinate the various spiritual and pastoral initiatives that seem useful for making the importance of the priest's role and mission in the Church and in contemporary society ever more clearly perceived.” In order to assist clerical institutes in this mandate, NRVC is pleased to provide resources on the NRVC website for our members.
The primary mission of any religious is the founding purpose and charism of his or her religious institute. An ordained religious, however, assumes through his sacramental ministry, the additional role of participating in and building up of the Body of Christ in a way different from his lay confreres in community. Our Catholic Church, and the priesthood itself, are deeply enriched by the witness and ministry of the men who respond to God’s call to both religious life and ordained ministry.
Being faithful to the goals of our organization, NRVC will promote the unique vocation of religious priesthood throughout this commemorative year. In addition to providing materials here on our resource page, every month the NRVC newsletter, Focus on Vocation Ministry will highlight a different religious priest and his institute. In addition, articles on religious priesthood will appear in Horizon, the NRVC professional journal, and in VISION Vocation Guide in print (and online in English and Spanish) and in VISION blog posts throughout the year.
I would also encourage you to promote this year in your own religious institute. To assist you in this, the NRVC Religious Priesthood Committee has made the following suggestions:
- Sponsor a house chapter or discussion on the identity and mission of priesthood in your particular religious institute.
- In your community publications, newsletters, website, and other media, highlight particular priests who have given particular inspirational witness in their vocation.
- In your parishes and community sponsored institutions, use community feast days and celebrations to promote the vitality of the vocation to religious priesthood within your institute.
- Develop a special prayer for vocations to religious priesthood to be used by your community throughout this year.
I take this opportunity to thank our NRVC clerical members for their witness and service to both the Church and their institutes in the promotion of religious priesthood. Through the intercession of St. John Vianney, patron of priests, may this year be a special blessing for you in your religious life and ministry.
Sincerely in Christ,
Brother Paul Bednarczyk, CSC