WHAT IS WORLD PRIEST DAY?
World Priest Day (WPD) is a celebration and affirmation of the mean who commit their lives to the Lord and the Church via the Sacrament of Holy Orders. It is an opportunity for Catholic Parishioners to thank, affirm and share their love and support for our priests.
HISTORY - The first World Priest Day was celebrated on the third Sunday in September 2000. The event grew from an idea in September of 1998, when the Worldwide Marriage Encounter community in the Diocese of Knoxville, TN decided to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the diocese by honoring all of their priests. The bishop & priests were so appreciative that the leaders of the local M.E. community shared the idea with the leaders of other communities in the Southeastern U.S. Some of those communities adopted the idea in 1999, and had such a positive experience that they brought the idea to the U S Secretariat leadership board. One year later, Worldwide Marriage Encounter officially established the third Sunday of September as World Priest Day.
During the nearly 50 years that Marriage Encounter has existed in the U.S., one of its gifts has been the wonderful relationships that have grown between countless couples and priests. This idea for honoring our priests came from the love and respect that has grown from those relationships. It predated the recent Church scandals, but we believe that building stronger relationships between priests and their people can rebuild our Church! We are together on our faith journey.
In 2003 WWME reached out to the full Church and invited other lay groups to join in the celebration of affirming the men who faithfully serve as our beloved priests. In June of 2006, WWME changed the day of World Priest Day to the 4th Sunday in October to coincide with the Serra Club’s celebration of Priesthood Sunday. This became effective in 2007.
WHAT IS WORLD MARRIAGE DAY?
World Marriage Day (WMD) honors husband and wife as the foundation of the family, the basic unit of society. It salutes the beauty of their faithfulness, sacrifice and joy in daily married life.
HISTORY - The idea of celebrating marriage began in Baton Rouge, La., in 1981, when couples encouraged the Mayor, the Governor and the Bishop to proclaim St. Valentines Day as "We Believe in Marriage Day". The event was so successful, the idea was presented to and was adopted by Worldwide Marriage Encounter's National Leadership.
By 1982, 43 Governors officially proclaimed the day and celebrations spread to U.S. military bases in several foreign countries. In 1983, the name was changed to "World Marriage Day", designated to be celebrated each year on the second Sunday in February. In 1993, his Holiness, Pope John Paul II, imparted his Apostolic Blessings on World Marriage Day. WMD celebrations continue to grow and spread to more countries and faith expressions every year.
SYMBOL - Our World Marriage Day Symbol speaks readily of the role and values we proclaim. Husband and wife are symbolically seen as two candle-like figures, reminding us that married love calls us to help enlighten the world. The couple is joined by a heart, focusing on love as the power that fosters unity within the couple and generates the capacity to be life-giving and inspire others to fruitfulness and unity.
THEME - Our Theme for WMD has been permanently adopted as "Love One Another". This phrase is the commandment given us by Jesus in John 15:12. It speaks to us in a simple but challenging way of how our Father wishes us to live. Loving one another is a daily decision, simple but challenging.
If you have experienced a WWME Weekend, we encourage you to celebrate your sacraments with us! Here are several resources for World Priest Day and World Marriage Day:
Worldwide Marriage Encounter Resources
World Priest Day wpd.wwme.org
World Marriage Day wmd.wwme.org
North American World Marriage Day / World Priest Day Ecclesial Team
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (www.usccb.org) has put more emphasis on the importance of the Sacrament of Matrimony recently through the foryourmarriage.org website.
The Serra International has great resources in Spanish and English for celebrating your local priests. See their resources for Priesthood Sunday at www.priestsunday.org.
A World Priest Day Prayer
We come before you today to ask your blessing on our brothers,
Whom you have called to the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
We ask that you support them with your presence
And fill them with grace to serve You faithfully.
Unite us in service with those whom you have called.
Open our hearts to encourage our brothers and sons to pursue your calling,
And open their hearts to hear Your call to this most Holy Sacrament. Amen.
A World Marriage Day Prayer
Father, as we prepare for WMD, we thank you for your tremendous gift of the Sacrament of Marriage. Help us to witness to its glory by a life of growing intimacy. Teach us the beauty of forgiveness so we may become more and more One in Heart, Mind and Body. Strengthen our dialogue and help us become living signs of your love. Make us grow more in love with the Church so we may renew the Body of Christ. Make us a sign of unity in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Brother. Amen.
- Fr. Bill Dilgen, S.M.M.
World Priest Day and World Marriage Day is sponsored
by Worldwide Marriage Encounter.
The mission of Worldwide Marriage Encounter is to proclaim
the value of Marriage and Holy Orders in the Church and in the world.