Want more news? Read our e-newsletter archive, and sign up online to stay current.

Priesthood Sunday

By Anthony Kowalski

As Roman Catholics, we cherish priests in our communities who fulfill the essential role of bringing Christ in word and sacrament to the faithful.  What could be more noble?  And when their virtuous lives bear witness to the sacred mysteries which they proclaim, how much the more praiseworthy!   Fittingly therefore every year Worldwide Marriage Encounter observes World Priest Day, and the Serra Club celebrates Priesthood Sunday.  Appropriately also the Voice of the Faithful honors Priests of Integrity.  This is indeed right and just.

FutureChurch has eagerly joined the effort to honor priests.  Last year they prepared materials for the celebration and encouraged the observance of Priesthood Sunday.  On October 31, 2010 for the first time it facilitated celebrations honoring priests in 30 local communities, not only throughout the US, but also in far-away Australia, Canada, Malaysia and the United Kingdom.  The response was very encouraging.

Typical of the FutureChurch observances was the “Celebration of Priesthood” held in a Cleveland parish.  Over sixty people came together.  Those in attendance first prayed for and affirmed priests who embrace the charism of celibacy in service to God’s Holy People.  They also acknowledged those whose call to ministry is not yet recognized by institutional church leaders.  In doing so, they recalled the celibate witness of Paul, the married witness of Peter, and the diaconal witness of Phoebe.

At the celebration, Fr. Jim O’Donnell reflected on his fifty years of service to the inner city poor as a celibate priest.  Bill Wisniewski and his wife Patty witnessed to priestly calling and joint ministry as husband and wife in service to God’s Holy People.  And Emily Holtel-Hoag, a lay campus minister for many years, expressed her hope for the future, praying that obstacles could be overcome in the Church so that those called to ministerial service could indeed exercise their priestly and diaconal calling.

The need for effective priestly ministry has grown.  In view of the growing shortage of priests, FutureChurch has chosen not only to honor the dedicated celibate priests among us, but also to advocate for a return to the tradition of both a married and celibate priesthood and the restoration of women to the diaconate.  Such clearly was the practice in the early Church;  such, we are convinced, is God’s plan for the future.

Next year, Priesthood Sunday will be observed on October 30, 2011. Email emily@futurechurch.org to receive resources to plan your celebration honoring the dedicated priests of today and welcoming the God-inspired priests of tomorrow.

Focus on FutureChurch

Winter 2011

Archive of Past Articles