Priesthood Sunday, celebrated nationwide on the last Sunday of September each year, is a special day to honor the men who serve as priests. It is also a day to honor all religious and to focus on the importance of vocations. Catholic Scout Packs, Troops, Venturing Crews and Sea Scout Ships are encouraged to make a special effort to involve young people in expressing appreciation to priests. This can be done at Mass on Priesthood Sunday, at a parish or Catholic school event or in other ways.
Priesthood Sunday is a time to affirm the priesthood of Jesus Christ and its central place in the life of the Church. Priesthood Sunday offers an opportunity for young people to connect with their parish pastor, as well as other priests in their community, and learn more about their vocation. This is especially important for young people today because there are fewer priests now than there used to be. Through Priesthood Sunday activities, young people can get to know their pastor or another priest and have the opportunity to learn firsthand about the vocation of priesthood.
The deacons and lay faithful can develop their own special way of marking the day and honoring their parish priests both at Mass and other parish events, such as social celebrations and school activities. Priesthood Sunday is designed to be an event led by the laity, but you may ask your parish priest to participate by talking about how he experienced and answered his own calling and about priests who have inspired him. Priesthood Sunday offers an opportunity for priests and their parishioners to build a stronger working relationship.
Together, they can dialogue to take an honest look at the challenges of the future and how they can collaborate to meet those challenges as a united force.
A Priesthood Sunday Prayer
Gracious and loving God, we thank you for the gift of our priests.
Through them, we experience your presence in the sacraments.
Help them, and all priests, to be strong in their vocation.
Set their souls on fire with love for your people.
Grant them the wisdom, understanding, and strength they need to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
Inspire them with the vision of your Kingdom.
Give them the words they need to spread the Gospel.
Allow them to experience joy in their ministry.
Help them to become instruments of your divine grace.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns as our Eternal Priest.
Prayer for Priests
Lord Jesus Christ, eternal High Priest,
You offered yourself to the Father on the altar of the Cross
and through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit
gave Your priestly people a share in Your redeeming sacrifice.
Hear our prayer for the sanctification of our priests.
Grant that all who are ordained to the ministerial priesthood
may be ever more conformed to You, the Divine Master.
May they preach the Gospel with pure heart and clear conscience.
Let them be shepherds according to Your own Heart,
single-minded in service to You and to the Church
and shining examples of a holy, simple and joyful life.
Through the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Your Mother and ours,
draw all priests and the flocks entrusted to their care
to the fullness of eternal life where you live and reign
with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
A Prayer for Priests by St. Therese of Lisieux
O Jesus, eternal Priest,
keep your priests within the shelter of Your Sacred Heart,
where none may touch them.
Keep unstained their anointed hands,
which daily touch Your Sacred Body.
Keep unsullied their lips,
daily purpled with your Precious Blood.
Keep pure and unearthly their hearts,
sealed with the sublime mark of the priesthood.
Let Your holy love surround them and
shield them from the world’s contagion.
Bless their labors with abundant fruit and
may the souls to whom they minister be their joy and consolation here and in heaven their beautiful and
A Prayer for Priests by John Cardinal O’Connor
O loving Mother Mary, Mother of Priests, take to your heart your sons who are close to you because of their priestly ordination and because of the power which they have received to carry on the work of Christ in a world which needs them so much. Be their comfort, be their joy, be their strength, and especially help them to live and to defend the ideals of consecrated celibacy.
Lord Jesus, we your people pray to You for our priests. You have given them to us for OUR needs. We pray for them in THEIR needs.
We know that You have made them priests in the likeness of your own priesthood. You have consecrated them, set them aside, anointed them, filled them with the Holy Spirit, appointed them to teach, to preach, to minister, to console, to forgive, and to feed us with Your Body and Blood.
Yet we know, too, that they are one with us and share our human weaknesses. We know too that they are tempted to sin and discouragement as are we, needing to be ministered to, as do we, to be consoled and forgiven, as do we. Indeed, we thank You for choosing them from among us, so that they understand us as we understand them, suffer with us and rejoice with us, worry with us and trust with us, share our beings, our lives, our faith.
We ask that You give them this day the gift You gave Your chosen ones on the way to Emmaus: Your presence in their hearts, Your holiness in their souls, Your joy in their spirits. And let them see You face to face in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread.
We pray to You, O Lord, through Mary the mother of all priests, for Your priests and for ours.
Prayer for a Priest
O Jesus, our great High Priest, Hear my humble prayers on behalf of your priest, [Father Name]. Give him a deep faith, a bright and firm hope and a burning love which will ever increase in the course of his priestly life.
In his loneliness, comfort him In his sorrows, strengthen him In his frustrations, point out to him that it is through suffering that the soul is purified, and show him that he is needed by the Church, he is needed by souls, he is needed for the work of redemption.
O loving Mother Mary, Mother of Priests, take to your heart your son who is close to you because of his priestly ordination, and because of the power which he has received to carry on the work of Christ in a world which needs him so much.
Be his comfort, be his joy, be his strength, and especially help him to live and to defend the ideals of consecrated celibacy.
Prayer for Clergy and Religious
Eternal Father, we lift up to you these and all the clergy and religious of the world.
Sanctify them. Heal them; guide them. Mold them into the likeness and holiness of Your Son, Jesus, the Eternal High Priest.
May their lives be pleasing to You. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Prayer for all Priests
Give them Your wisdom, Lord.
Give them virtue.
Give them patience and charity.
Give them obedience and kindness.
Give them a burning zeal for souls.
Give them an intense love for the Eucharist.
Give them loyalty to the Holy See and to their Bishops.
Give them respect for their dignity.
Give them a great love for Mary.
Give them rectitude and justice.
Give them the gift of counsel.
Give them strength in their labors.
Give them peace in their sufferings.
Give them humility and generosity.
Let them be the light of souls.
Let them be the salt of the earth.
Let them practice sacrifice and self-denial.
Let them enkindle hearts with the love of Mary.
Let them be other Christs. Let them be holy in body and soul.
May they be men of prayer.
May faith shine forth in them.
May they be concerned only for the salvation of souls.
May they be faithful to their priestly vocation.
May their hands know only how to bless.
May they burn with love for You and for Mary.
May all their steps be for the glory of God.
May the Holy Spirit possess them, and give them his Gifts and fruits in abundance.
Let us pray
O God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are the soul and the life of the Church. Hear the prayers we offer for priests. We ask this through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, their protector and guide.