Happy Anniversary, Father

I received an email today from a reader who has come up with the idea of marking the "Year for Priests" by marking your local priest's
anniversary of ordination. He has put up some ideas for this on his Vocations Guide website (I can't link directly to the page: click the "longer explanation" for parish clergy and then click "Happy Anniversary Father".) The suggestions are very simple - a card, a gift of a spiritual book, perhaps helping children to participate by drawing their own cards etc.

This initiative strikes me as good ideas because it helps lay people to celebrate with their priest the most important reason he is there for them - i.e. his priesthood. It is also good for us priests to be reminded of this.

Another suggestion (I can't remember where I read this) is that whenever a priest comes to your home, always ask for his blessing before he leaves. As a priest, I always like to kneel down to receive the blessing of another priest - so don't be shy of doing this. Such things are nothing to do with "human respect" but everything to do with respect for the sacramental character of the priesthood. The priest needs to be reminded of this and accept any external gestures of reverence in humility as acts of reverence for Christ who chooses to work through him despite his sins and failings.

By the way - my 25th anniversary comes up this year on Tuesday the 28th of July. I'll be celebrating High Mass in the usus antiquior at 7pm that day. There will also be a celebration in the newer form on Saturday 25th July at 6pm. You are all welcome to either or both. Clergy are welcome to attend in choir at the older form and priests are welcome to attend in choir or concelebrate at the newer form.

More details and a dedicated email address for replies to come online in the near future. Meanwhile, here is a photo from my ordination, the traditio instrumentorum or "handing on of the instruments" for the celebration of Mass:

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