By John Norton
As we've mentioned here before, Pope Benedict XVI has proclaimed a Year of the Priest starting June 19, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
It's a welcome opportunity for all Catholics to reflect on the gift of the priesthood, find ways to support our priests and to encourage priestly vocations in our families and parishes.
Here at OSV we've put together a team to manage some resources for you on a special section of our website dedicated to the year. Sarah Hayes, the newspaper's presentation editor, is managing the content; Lindsey Luken, the newspaper's designer, will be crafting some interactive Flash presentations; and Cathy Dee, our website administrator, will be posting it all in a way that is appealing, organized and easy to navigate.
Visitors to the special section (you can find it at www.osv.com/priestyear) will have the opportunity to submit prayers for priests, answer monthly survey questions regarding the priesthood and vocations, and even solve a crossword puzzle. (The crossword puzzle we posted for the Year of St. Paul was attempted and/or completed by about 13,000 people!)
In addition, visitors will be able to add to their knowledge of "Priests Who Made a Difference" -- those theologians, reformers, missionaries and scientists who influenced the Church and society throughout the centuries -- in an interactive Flash presentation.
One feature we're especially excited about is the opportunity for readers to submit a form answering the question, "Who is your favorite priest, and why?" We will later post profiles of some of the priests, in addition to publishing their information in the print edition of the newspaper. Of course, you can also mail or e-mail me a suggestion of a favorite priest.
Drawing on OSV's vast resources, we will also offer excerpts of books related to the priesthood, including a couple of new titles, along with information from our pamphlets, Catholic Parent Know-How and prayer cards on how we all can support priests and vocations.
Look, also, for biographical details of St. John Vianney, the Curé of Ars, whom Pope Benedict XVI called "a true example of a pastor at the service of Christ's flock" during his address announcing the special year on March 16. In fact, 2010 will mark the 150th anniversary of the saint's death, and the pope is expected to proclaim him as the patron saints of all the world's priests during the jubilee year.
Visitors also will be able to get information on a priest whose memory we hold dear here at OSV -- Archbishop John F. Noll, our founder, who was instrumental in the development of what is now the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.
Please note: Comments left online may be considered for publication in the Letters to the Editor section of OSV Newsweekly.
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