Saint Sulpice and the Year for Priests

A Year of Grace
Tuesday 20 April 2010
by  Ronald Witherup
popularity : 13%

We are over half-way through the Year for Priests, which will end June 9-11, 2010 with an international gathering of priests in Rome. In what ways has the Society of Saint Sulpice participated in the year?

Each of the three Provinces has chosen to accent the Year for Priests in distinct ways. In general, the seminaries in each Province have held various retreats, days of recollection, and presentations on priesthood themes throughout the year. In some instances, these events will continue even beyond the official end of the Year for Priests. Many presentations have focused on the pastoral ministry of priests, invoking the image of the beloved Curé d’Ars, Saint Jean-Marie VIANNEY, whom Pope Benedict declared the model for priests for this special year. Moreover, Sulpicians throughout the world continue to give retreats, workshops, and days of recollection to priest groups in many different dioceses. A few other highlights are worth noting.

In France a special convocation of Sulpicians will take place on June 11, 2010, Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The gathering will be held at the Church of Saint Sulpice and will include brief presentations by ten members of the Province about their experiences in priesthood. There will also be a solemn concelebrated Mass and a festive dinner. In addition, a special retreat for Sulpicians from the Province, treating various priesthood themes, will be held in late August, led by Bishop Georges SOUBRIER, p.s.s., Bishop Emeritus of Nantes.

In Canada, a lengthy series of special conferences is being held throughout the year, and beyond, to present many themes on the priesthood. In fact, during the recent General Council meeting in Montreal in April, 2010, the General Council attended the presentation of Father Bernard PITAUD, p.s.s, Provincial of France, on the topic of Father Jean-Jacques Olier as a pastor at Saint Sulpice (see pictures). Other presenters and topics include: Carlos BALLÉN , p.s.s., on the sacramental fraternity in the presbyterate; Ronald D. WITHERUP, p.s.s. on Saint Paul as a model for priests; Jacques D’ARCY, p.s.s., Provincial of Canada, on themes from John Paul II’s writings on the priesthood; Mgr. Émilius GOULET, p.s.s., Archbishop Emeritus of Saint-Boniface, on diocesan priestly spirituality from the viewpoint of a bishop, and many others.

Special retreats for the confreres in Canada and South America will also be conducted on themes directly related to priesthood.

The U.S. Province was intimately involved in a major symposium on the priesthood held at The Catholic University of America October 6-7, 2009, with the title: “Ministerial Priesthood in the Third Millennium: Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of Priests.” This symposium, attended by several hundred priests and laity, led to an immediate publication by The Liturgical Press of the major talks, bearing the same title as the Symposium. Major presenters were Msgr. Kevin IRWIN, Msgr. Paul G. McPARTLAN, and Father Michael WITCZAK, all of The Catholic University faculty, and Fathers Lawrence B. TERRIEN, p.s.s, and Ronald D. WITHERUP, p.s.s., of the Society of
Saint Sulpice.

In short, the Society of Saint Sulpice has promoted the Year for Priests extensively through its special ministry of initial and ongoing of priests, as well as by sponsoring many programs for seminarians and priests throughout the year. It has truly been a year of grace.