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Rome Reports

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Christ the Priest, feast that Benedict XVI promoted after Year for Priests

When Benedict XVI concluded the Year for Priests in 2010, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares suggested that he include in the liturgical calendar a feast to help Catholics reflect on the priesthood and pray for priests.

The pope accepted, and since 2012, bishops' conferences can request permission to celebrate the feast of Christ Priest every year on the Thursday after Pentecost.

The devotion was strongly promoted by the founders of the Congregation of the Oblates, Spanish bishop Jose María García Lahiguera and Mother Maria del Carmen Hidalgo de Caviedes.

Superior, Oblate Sisters of Christ Priest
“They had an insight: 'It would do so much good for these priests if they could celebrate this feast!' It's a day for them to contemplate themselves in Christ the Priest. They reflect on how to be priests in Jesus Christ. They contemplate their vocation, their priestly love, in the liturgy, in the Word of God. Those days, the essence of the priesthood is brought into focus.”

Thirteen episcopal conferences and the Vatican basilica celebrate the feast each year.

In places where the Congregation of the Oblate Sisters of Christ Priest are present, the celebration includes large gatherings of priests from all over the diocese. It's a feast for them to remember the depth of their mission and to renew their surrender. It's also an expression of gratitude.

Just a few days ago, the pope published a letter he wrote to priests in Rome, to help them during this delicate phase of the pandemic.

Javier Martínez-Brocal

Translation: Claudia Torres