A you all know by now, the Holy Father has proclaimed a special "Year of the Priesthood" beginning 19 June 2009.
This coincides with the 150th Anniversary of the death of St. John Vianny, the Curé of Ars, who hitherto has been the patron of parish priests. The theme of the year is "Faithfulness of Christ, faithfulness of the priest".
On 19 June, the feast of the Sacred Heart, Pope Benedict will preside at Vespers in the presence of the relics of St John Vianney, brought to Rome by the Bishop of Belley-Ars and there will be a Worldwide Meeting of Priests in St Peter’s Square.
During the year, the Holy Father will proclaim St John Vianney "Patron of all the priests of the world." There is also going to be a new "Directory for Confessors and Spiritual Directors."
Speaking to members of the Congregation for the Clergy, Pope Benedict said that awareness of the radical social changes of recent decades made it necessary for the "best ecclesial energies to be applied to the formation of candidates for the ministry."
"Mission has its roots in a special way in a good formation, developed in communion with unbroken ecclesial Tradition, without pausing or being tempted by discontinuity. In this context, it is important to encourage priests, especially the young generations, to a correct reading of the texts of Vatican Council II, interpreted in the light of all the Church’s doctrinal inheritance."