On the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the day of universal prayer for priests, which this year occurred on 28th June, secular priests from every diocese in England and Wales were invited to attend a Mass of celebration of diocesan priesthood in Westminster Cathedral.
Welcoming the hundreds of priests who attend the Mass, Cardinal Vincent said: ‘Today is about you, my brother priests, about your faithfulness, your steadfast generosity, your ministry of healing, your endurance…I thank you for your faithfulness, your generosity, your perseverance. I thank you, as do each of us bishops, and the people of your parishes. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!’
Each priest received two gifts: A Celebration of the Diocesan Priesthood of England and Wales by Judith Champ, written especially for the day, and a special edition of ‘Meditations and Devotions’ by Blessed John Henry Newman.
Newman is, the Cardinal said, ‘soon to be declared a saint, a saint from among us, a priest who served the people of the parish with love and devotion.’
He added: ‘There is so much to learn from the heritage we celebrate today, so much that is deeply written in our priestly DNA. It begins and ends in this love of the Lord. Today let us love him in the depth of our hearts, in our moments of solitude, in time spent alone with him, without which we cannot flourish. Today let us love him in all our efforts to serve a good and holy order in his Body, the Church. Today let us again love him in our readiness to fulfil his mission, given by the Father, to bring this Word of compassion, mercy, forgiveness to our world, especially to his vulnerable brothers and sisters in their moments of need.’
Joining the bishops and priests at this Mass were many of the faithful who came to pray for their priests in thanksgiving for their dedication and service.
The Cardinal's homily is available here.
Photos from the Mass are available here.