What is “Priesthood Sunday”?

Priesthood Sunday, the last Sunday of October, is a special day set aside to honor the priesthood in the United States. It is a day to reflect upon and affirm the role of the priesthood in the life of the Church as a central one. For this Columbian Year, Priesthood Sunday will be held on October 29, 2017.

In the wake of the clergy sex abuse scandal, there has been concern that the image of all priests has been tainted by the actions of a few. Priesthood Sunday sends a message to all that the sins of a few do not reflect the innocent majority, and that the parish priest, as the instrument of Christ’s ministry on earth, is loved and respected by those in the parish community.


What happens on Priesthood Sunday?

The lay faithful of all parishes in the country develop their own special way of marking the day and honoring their parish priests both at Mass and other parish events, such as social celebrations and school activities.  Priesthood Sunday was designed to be an event led by the laity, but your parish priest can participate by talking about how he experienced and answered his own calling, the need for vocations to keep the priesthood vital, and about priests who have inspired him.

Priesthood Sunday will also offer an opportunity for priests and their parishioners to build a stronger working relationship for the future. Together, they can dialogue to take an honest look at the challenges of the future and how they can collaborate to meet those challenges as a united force.


What are some of the Priesthood Sunday Celebration Ideas?

There are many ways to celebrate Priesthood Sunday with the whole parish. Here are some ideas:

  • Parish pot luck dinner to celebrate “Father’s Day”
  • Place an Ad in local diocesan paper along with short story about priest(s)
  • Photo on cover of parish bulletin along with biography
  • Publicity in your diocesan and local community newspaper about your parish celebration of “Priesthood Sunday.”
  • Put posters announcing your parish celebration on parish bulletin boards.


Celebration planning includes the following:

  • Form a celebration committee
  • Select dates for the committee to meet
  • Identify other parish groups that would like to participate
  • Select a date for the celebration


Nicholas Vilicich
Priesthood Sunday Program
California State Chairman