A Beautiful Day, A Significant Anniversary, An Important Year

sacred_heart_02bToday is the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.  A beautiful litany to mark the day can be found here

Today also marks the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Vianney.  My biographical article on St. John Vianney will be published in an upcoming issue of The Catholic Answer.   In the meantime, for someone who is really looking for some good reading on the saint, I’d highly recommend The Cure d’Ars, by Francois Trochu.  It’s excellent.  And from the Popes, there’s are two documents not to be overlooked: Pope John XXIII’s 1959 encyclical letter about him, and Pope John Paul II’s 1986  letter to the priests of the world.

And today is the first day of the “Year for Priests” which Pope Benedict has called for, lasting through June 19, 2010.   The Pope will be celebrating solemn vespers this evening at St. Peter’s Basilica, in the presence of the relics of St. John Vianney, to formally open the year.  At some point during this year, the Pope intends to declare St. John Vianney the patron saint of all priests.  (I haven’t seen a date mentioned, and some present this information as if it has already happened, but it hasn’t.)  (Vianney is already patron saint of parish priests.)  (UPDATE: Pope Benedict’s letter to priests formally opening the year is posted here.)

Note: a plenary indulgence is available today, and on several other occasions throughout the year.  (A partial indulgence is available every day throughout this special year.) The full decree on this is here, but most pertinant is this section:

The Plenary Indulgence is granted to all the faithful who are truly repentant who, in church or in chapel, devoutly attend the divine Sacrifice of Mass and offer prayers to Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest, for the priests of the Church, and any other good work which they have done on that day, so that he may sanctify them and form them in accordance with His Heart, as long as they have made expiation for their sins through sacramental confession and prayed in accordance with the Supreme Pontiff’s intentions: on the days in which the Year for Priests begins and ends, on the day of the 150th anniversary of the pious passing of St John Mary Vianney, on the first Thursday of the month or on any other day established by the local Ordinaries for the benefit of the faithful.

Blessed Feast of the Sacred Heart to all!

St. John Vianney, pray for priests, and for all of us!

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