In 2002, St. John Paul II announced the annual World Day of Prayer for Priests and its respective celebration on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. St. John Paul II and his successors, Popes Benedict XVI and Francis, have all emphasized the great need for priests who minister to God’s people from the depths of their heart, just as Christ gave of himself to all people.
The following is a prayer that Pope Benedict XVI wrote while still the Bishop of Rome. We invite you to take a moment or two today to remember all priests and to pray this prayer. May God renew in the hearts of all priests a profound love for all God’s people.
LORD JESUS CHRIST,
eternal High Priest, you offered yourself to the
Father on the altar of the Cross and through the
outpouring of the Holy Spirit gave your priestly
people a share in your redeeming sacrifice.
Hear our prayer for the sanctification of our priests.
Grant that all who are ordained to the ministerial
priesthood may be ever more conformed to you,
the divine Master. May they preach the
Gospel with pure heart and clear conscience.
Let them be shepherds according to your own Heart,
single- minded in service to you and to the Church
and shining examples of a holy,simple and joyful life.
Through the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
your Mother and ours,draw all priests and the flocks
entrusted to their care to the fullness of eternal life where
you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.