This time of year is traditionally a celebration season for my family. With birthdays, graduations, weddings, not to mention Mothers and Fathers Day, we have a reason to gather nearly every week it seems.
My dad tends to want to keep both his birthday and Father’s Day low key, while we (his family) tend to want to celebrate him (he really is the best dad and deserves the best party!). As I’ve been thinking about this upcoming Father’s Day, I started to think about our “other” fathers – our priests.
As you know, Pope Benedict established a special “Year for Priests” that that began June 19, 2009 and will end this month. Throughout the year I have heard many people try to explain what this special year means–for the priests, for the laity, and the church as a whole. Going back to what our Holy Father has said, the Year For Priests is a time to:
“Encourage priests in this striving for spiritual perfection on which, above all, the effectiveness of their ministry depends“
(for priests) “Make this Year a graced opportunity to grow ever closer to Jesus, who counts on us, his ministers, to spread and build up his Kingdom, and to radiate his love and his truth.”
Hopefully by this point in the year, you have had a chance to encourage and support your priests. If you have not already participated in this Year of the Priest, it’s not too late. You still have a couple of weeks before the year closes (and really, there is no need to stop encouraging and supporting and praying for our priests just because their “year” is over).
To make this year come to life for you and your teens, there are many resources from which to draw –whether through Life Teen, the USCCB or your local diocese. I know that it was also helpful to brainstorm with the youth ministers in my area. As well, my own team had some good ideas about what we could do to bring this theme to our teenagers. Our goal should be helping teens form a lifelong habit of gratitude and support for the priests.
So, as you start to browse for the perfect Father’s Day card, think about what you might also do for all the other Fathers in your life and ministry. And just a friendly reminder… Father’s Day is June 20th!