Pope Benedict has declared this to be 'The Year of the Priest'
I am happy to hear this. I hope it will invigorate priests across the world and encourage vocations. Mostly I hope it will inspire people everywhere to look at the priesthood in a new light.
Please pray for our priests.
Many are drained mentally and physically from the challenges of running parishes short on funds and long on needs. Others end up far from home, facing the horrors of war, disease, poverty and oppression in order to share God's message of mercy and hope.
They have big joys in their lives, of course. God gives them extraordinary access to the most sacred moments on Earth.
Priests have unique access into our lives as well. They witness some of life's biggest moments - baptism, first holy communion, confirmation and holy matrimony. They are there in our trials as well, through the sacraments of penance and anointing of the sick.
But priests, no matter how holy, are people just like us. They get lonely, sad, angry and frustrated at times. Sometimes they fall short.
They give their lives for God.
Without priests, there would be no holy sacrifice. No Mass. No Eucharist.
No Eucharist = No Church. And that's a world I don't want to live in.
Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich once said (this is based on private revelation, the faithful are not required to accept it as truth; however, her writings have been granted the Nhil Obstat and Imprimatur by church officials)
"Mass badly celebrated is an enormous evil. Ah! it is not a matter of indifference how it is said! . . . I have had a great vision on the mystery of Holy Mass and I have seen that whatever good has existed since creation is owing to it."
and also this, which I assume quotes her dialogue with the Blessed Virgin Mary:
"She said what is most painful for me to repeat, that if only one priest offered the Unbloody Sacrifice as worthily and with the same sentiments as the Apostles, he could ward off all calamities from the Church."
So please, please pray for our priests.
Pray that they are holy.
Pray that they find joy in loving and serving the Lord.
Pray that they are protected from evil, and that their every word and action is inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Pray that God reveals more of Himself and the Divine mysteries to them everyday, so that we the faithful may grow along with them.
Pray that you can support them in times of trial.
Pray for vocations.
And please, please take the time to thank a priest for becoming a priest.