SINGAPORE – The Priestly Life Commission, in collaboration with the Serra Club of Singapore, has planned a year-long celebration for the archdiocese.

The Year For Priests will be launched in Singapore on the Day of Sanctification of Priests, Friday Jun 19, with Mass at Cathedral of the Good Shepherd celebrated by Archbishop Nicholas Chia, with priests of the archdiocese concelebrating.

The Mass will conclude with the unveiling and blessing of a specially commissioned statue of St. John Vianney. This statue will be brought to each of the 31 Catholic parishes in the archdiocese. It will stay at each parish for a week during which the host parish is encouraged to have a Holy Hour to pray for priests, seminarians, and more vocations to the priesthood.

“This is not a devotion to St. John Mary Vianney,” stressed Father Andrew Wong, chairman of the Priestly Life Commission, “but is to be a means of drawing attention and inviting Catholics to a deeper appreciation of the ministerial priesthood.”

During the week that the statue is at a parish, parishioners will be encouraged to pray for the priests of their parish, and give thanks for the ministry of priests among God’s people. The priests of the parish and parish representatives have been asked to increase awareness of the exemplary life of St. John Vianney and how his example can inspire young men of today to consider the priestly vocation.

Each parish has received a package containing information, suggestions, prayers, and a Holy Hour booklet. Parish priests have been requested to preach, for that particular Sunday when the statue is with the parish, on the theme of the missionary dimension of the priesthood with the priest as “Teacher of the Word, Minister of the Sacraments, and Leader of the Community”.

Other Year For Priests activities

There will be a 24-hour Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for priests at the Catholic Spirituality Centre on Aug 1-2 to pray for the priests of the archdiocese, seminarians, and more vocations to the priesthood, and to give thanks for the ministry of priests among God’s people.

On Aug 4, the feast day and the 150th death anniversary of St. John Mary Vianney, all parishes will encourage parishioners to make special effort to attend the feast day Mass.

In October, the month of the Rosary, parishioners will be encouraged to include the intentions of their priests and seminarians in their prayers, and to pray for more vocations in the “Month of the Rosary” devotions.

In November, parishes will celebrate the memory of their deceased priests who have served them, and encouraged to have a Mass to pray for their souls.

CatholicNews will publish stories of priests throughout the year. The Year For Priests will conclude on Jun 19, 2010 with a Mass, and the statue of St. John Vianney will be handed over to the St. Francis Xavier Major Seminary.

By Daniel Tay

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