The Year For Priests Comes To A Close

Today, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, marks the close of the Year For Priests. Looking back over this year, much has happened in the priesthood. While it was filled with many graces, it also had its share of hardship, trial and continued scandal in the area of the clergy sexual abuse cases. Our Holy Father suffered his own share of attacks as well, especially in the media.
The year was dedicated to priests and the priesthood, but I think as the lay faithful, we too have shared, in our own personal way, those graces and perhaps the trial, hardship and scandal as well.
For me, perhaps the greatest grace came in the calling to be a spiritual mother to priests. Last June I received the name of a priest for whom I would pray throughout the entire year from the Opus Sanctorum Angelorum organization; the other day I received the name of my second "spiritual son". Praying and offering sacrifice for a particular priest has kept me more aware on a much deeper level of how vital the priesthood is for us, as well as how fragile it can be. It is one of Christ's greatest gifts to us because through it, He gives us Himself.
Even though the official Year for Priests is ending, we still need to pray for our priests. I pray that priests everywhere have felt Our Lord's touch in a special way this past year. May the graces they have received bear fruit for building God's Kingdom here on earth, and bear fruit for the people they serve. I also pray they have been enriched and refreshed in their own spiritual lives.
The following sites have posts relating to the closing events of the Year for Priests.
Fr. Mark's blog, Vultus Christi has Pope Benedict XVI's beautiful and powerful homily for the closing Mass.
At Word Incarnate, Abbot Joseph includes some of his own thoughts on this special year in his reflection today.
Fr. James Farfaglia was in Rome for the closing events and has photos and commentary of the week.
Jane and her team at Spiritual Mothers of Priests has a post featuring some snippets from interviews with some French priests who were in attendance for the closing events.
Mary, Queen of the Apostles, obtain for us many holy and faithful priests!