Special Mass for Priests

Memorial of St. John Vianney
St. Stephen’s Church
Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 7:00pm
On the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus last June, the Holy Father inaugurated a “Year for Priests” in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Marie Vianney. This Tuesday commemorates that anniversary, and a special Mass will be celebrated at St. Stephen’s to which all priests of the Archdiocese have been invited.

St. John Marie Vianney (May 8, 1786 – August 4, 1859) was known popularly as the “Curé d’Ars” (the pastor of the village of Ars, France), and he is the patron saint of parish priests. During his lifetime, he became notable internationally for his priestly and pastoral work in his parish due to the radical spiritual transformation of the community and its surroundings. Catholics attribute this to his saintly life, mortification and persevering ministry in the sacrament of confession.

When St. John Vianney arrived in Ars, a village of 230 souls, he was warned beforehand by his Bishop that he would find religious practice there in a sorry state: “There is little love of God in that parish; you will be the one to put it there.” As a result, St. John Vianney was deeply aware that he needed to embody Christ’s presence and to bear witness to His saving mercy: “[Lord,] grant me the conversion of my parish; I am willing to suffer whatever you wish, for my entire life!” With this prayer he entered upon his mission and devoted himself completely to his parish’s conversion, setting before all else the Christian education of the people in his care.

This year is meant to deepen the commitment of all priests to interior renewal for the sake of a more forceful and incisive witness to the Gospel in today’s world. Please join us in the church on this special occasion for priests and for our own Good Shepherd Parish!