In part it is to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of the French parish priest and saint, John Vianney, often known as the Cure D'Ars, who Benedict called "a true example of a pastor at the service of Christ's flock."
Priests must be, says the Pope "present, identifiable and recognisable - for their judgement of faith, personal virtues and attire - in the fields of culture and of charity which have always been at the heart of the Church's mission". He also reminded us that "The centrality of Christ leads to a correct valuation of priestly ministry, without which there would be no Eucharist, no mission, not even the Church."
Just as the on-going current Year of St Paul has enabled many people to think about and reevaluate his contribution to Christian life then maybe this Year of the Priest will enable the Church to reflect more deeply on the role of the priest in the Church and how priesthood functions within the whole community of the People of God.
The Pope will open the special year with a vespers service at the Vatican 19 June - the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the day for the sanctification of priests. He will close the celebrations during a World Meeting of Priests in St. Peter's Square June 19, 2010.
Please pray for the Priests in Arundel & Brighton Diocese.