OCEANIA/TAHITI - Year for Priests is the occasion to learn of the lives of holy priests, like Father Damian, and the missionaries who have spread the Gospel in Tahiti: Letter from the Archbishop of Papeete

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Papeete (Agenzia Fides) - “It is important that this Year for Priests be an occasion to discover the life of holy priests: the Cure of Ars above all, but also other priests, especially the missionaries of Oceania like Father Damian, who will be canonized this year, Saint Peter Chanel...and I think also of the missionaries who have contributed to the evangelization of the Apostolic Vicariate of Tahiti, especially Fr. Latuin Leveque, the apostle of Harorai.” This is what Archbishop Hubert Coppenrath of Papeete writes in his Pastoral Letter for the beginning of the Year for Priests.
Recalling what has been affirmed by the Holy Father Benedict XVI and Cardinal Claudio Hummes, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, the Archbishop of Papeete mentions three fundamental objectives for the Year for Priests. Above all, the Year is for priests, who we hope after this year will be “happier, more faithful, more united, and holier” priests. But this Year also has to do with the entire Church, which is why the Archbishop writes: “everyone should renew their vision of the priest, in order to better collaborate with priests and help them to better carry out their mission and progress in holiness. It is important that the priest feels loved, but in such a way that it is also a motive to correspond more intensely to what the One, Jesus, who chose him expects of him.”
Lastly, he directs special attention to promoting vocations to the ordained ministry. “Fully human like Jesus, the priest is also, like Him, consecrated...which means that his person and his activity belong completely to God.” The Archbishop continued: “To be a witness of Jesus Christ, the priest should be vigilant in living his life with perfect transparency, and should make great efforts in maintaining a constant coherence between what he says and what he does. As a man of peace and unity, he should make an effort to unite the faithful in charity, following the example of the Good Shepherd. The consecrated celibacy, which the Latin Rite Church requires of its priests, is well explained by her...the priest embraces consecrated celibacy to be completely of God and be all things to all people.” Archbishop Coppenrath highlighted that the priest “should have his gaze always fixed on his Master, to become a priest after the model of the apostles, making an effort to follow Jesus in his way of life and action.” (SL) (Agenzia Fides 30/7/2009)