Feast of Christ the Priest

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The Feast of Christ the Priest is a Roman Catholic moveable liturgical feast celebrated annually on the first Thursday after Pentecost. Approval for this feast was first granted by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in 1987.[1][2] In 2012 the Congregation sent a letter to all conferences of bishops, offering the feast to be inscribed in their respective liturgical calendars if they ask for it.[3]

It is observed by the Confraternity of Christ the Priest in Australia and all the Roman Catholic dioceses of Spain. Since 2013, it has been observed in Poland (Decree, 3 April 2013) [4] in the Netherlands the following year,[5] since 2015 in Czech Republic.[6] The feast was introduced into the liturgy and Divine Office in England and Wales in 2018.[7]


The feast focuses firstly on JesusPriestly Office (Latin: Munus sacerdotale). He is considered the model for believers, and for the clergy in particular, with priests acting In persona Christi (“In the person of Christ”). The laity are thus urged to pray that priests would be more like Christ, the compassionate and trustworthy high priest (Hebrews 2:17), ever-living to intercede for humanity before The Father (Heb 7:25).

The Second Vatican Council taught many things about the Priesthood of Christ, and sharing in that one Priesthood through the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Orders. This development has been reflected in many subsequent documents. One effective way to build upon this teaching is to establish the Feast of Christ the Priest more widely.

What Pope Pius XI wrote about the feast in honor of Christ’s Kingly Office can be said just as truly about this feast in honor of Our Lord’s Priesthood:

For people are instructed in the truths of faith, and brought to appreciate the inner joys of religion far more effectually by the annual celebration of our sacred mysteries than by any official pronouncement of the teaching of the Church. Such pronouncements usually reach only a few and the more learned among the faithful; feasts reach them all; the former speak but once, the latter speak every year - in fact, forever.[8]

Liturgical aspects[edit]

The feast has its own proper texts for the Mass, as for the Votive Mass of the Blessed Eucharist B.

The feast also has approved Latin, Spanish and English texts for the Divine Office or the Liturgy of the Hours.

The entry from the Roman Martyrology (2005) reads:

Thursday after Pentecost

The Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, The Eternal High Priest, according to the order of Melchizedek.

In him the Father has been well pleased from before all time. As Mediator between God and human beings, fulfilling his Father’s will, he sacrificed himself once on the altar of the Cross as a saving Victim for the whole world. Thus, instituting the pattern of an everlasting sacrifice, with a brother’s kindness he chose, from among the children of Adam, men to augment the priesthood, so that, from the sacrifice continually renewed in the Church, streams of divine power might flow, whereby a new heaven and a new earth might be made, and throughout the whole universe there would be perfected what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor has entered into the human heart.


  1. ^ "Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments".
  2. ^ Prot. N. 196/87, Prot. N. CD. 501/91
  3. ^ Prot. N. 452/12/L
  4. ^ Prot. 109/13/L, SEP – D/6.1-1
  5. ^ "Offici?le website van de Rooms-Katholieke Kerk in Nederland". Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  6. ^ Prot. n. 58/15
  7. ^ Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, Domini nostri Iesu Christi Summo et Aeterno Sacerdote - festum, Prot. N. 83/13/L, Prot. N. 144/17, accessed 30 November 2020
  8. ^ Pope Pius XI Quas Primas 21 establishing the universal feast of Christ the King

External links[edit]