Priesthood Sunday celebrations double in 2011
In late October hundreds of faithful Catholics honored their parish priests and prayed for a return to the ancient tradition of also permitting a married priesthood and women deacons in the Latin rite of the Roman Catholic Church. At least 60 celebrations were held in parishes and private homes all over the US and seven other countries including Australia, Canada, India, Mexico, England, Ireland, Scotland, and the Netherlands. This is double the number held in 2011.
One priest wrote: "When I preached on restoring the traditional married priesthood along side the single priesthood and when I talked about the opening that has been made for women to become deacons... the congregations applauded. It was quite spontaneous and most encouraging. Thanks for the info to help with this observance."
The prayer service includes two special blessing prayers. The first, “For Those Called to Serve the People of God in Ordained Ministry” reads in part: O Holy God, we give you thanks for these men who have given their lives in service to your people. May they be filled with wisdom, holiness and discretion as they prepare homilies, lift up the downhearted, console the dying, witness marriages, meet with parish committees, reconcile sinners and celebrate the Eucharist, the sacrament of your risen presence with us.
The second, “Blessing Prayer For Those Whose Call to Serve in Ordained Ministry is Not Yet Recognized by the Institutional Church” reads in part: O Holy God, we give you thanks for the leading of your Spirit deep in the hearts of these your servants who experience a call to the priesthood or the diaconate but whose calls as yet go unrecognized by the institutional Church. May the Spirit of the living God renew within you a spirit of persevering holiness, faith and courage as you share with church leaders and churchgoers the good news of God’s action in your life.
Ninety-one people downloaded the service and eleven of the 38 celebrations about which we have specific details were held in parishes reaching between 30 and 5,000 participants.