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About Priesthood Sunday

Together we can make a difference!

One afternoon, I was waiting for Mass to start at St. John’s and there was no priest. Some nuns were visiting from New York and they said they didn’t have a priest in all their parishes anymore, and that Eucharistic services were common. I thought, “What would it be like if there were no priests?” And I asked myself, “What are you doing about it?”
-- Elizabeth Shrier, Serra Club of Omaha, NE

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.

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.

This nationwide event is coordinated by the USA Council of Serra International. It is sponsored by the USA Council of Serra International and the Serra International Foundation.

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 is the USA Council of Serra International?

The USA Council of Serra International is an organization of lay men and women whose mission is to foster and affirm vocations to the ministerial priesthood and vowed religious life in the USA. More than 11,500 Serrans in over 300 clubs nationwide collaborate with their bishops, parishes and vocation directors to fulfill this mission. Through this ministry, Serrans work to further their common Catholic faith. You can find out more about Serra at

Press Release


Contact: USA Council of Serra International



Catholics honor priests in nationwide event

In October, Catholic parishes throughout the United States will show support for their priests with prayer, celebration and dialogue. The last Sunday of October is designated as Priesthood Sunday, a one-day celebration of the priesthood organized by parish lay leaders and coordinated by the USA Council of Serra International.

“The purpose of Priesthood Sunday is to engage every level of the church in the United States in a national conversation about the priesthood,” said Rev. Richard Vega, President of the National Federation of Priests’ Councils. NFPC represents more than 26,000 U.S. priests.

Priesthood Sunday was established in 2003 to provide a way for Catholic communities to express appreciation for the devoted priests who serve them so faithfully despite recent negative attention in the media. Such a celebration is increasingly relevant in light of the declining number of priests in the U.S. Only about 4,000 of the 19,000 parishes in this country currently have more than one priest. Many priests serve two or more parishes by themselves.

The lay faithful of each parish, school or other ministry are asked to develop their own special way of marking the day and honoring both priesthood and their own priests. Special liturgies, Priesthood Sunday celebrations and the opening of a dialogue between priests and parishioners are encouraged. Priesthood Sunday is traditionally celebrated on the last Sunday of October, but some dioceses and parishes may celebrate at a different time to coincide with other planned events.

Lay parish leaders are invited to visit for suggested liturgies, social celebrations, reflections, and downloadable graphics, guides and posters. Requests for printed material may be directed to 888.777.6681.

“Affirming and supporting our priests are some of the most important things that we can do as Serrans,” says Gary Davis, past president of the USA Council of Serra International, the non-profit organization coordinating Priesthood Sunday. The USA Council is responsible for disseminating information to parishes interested in honoring their priests on this very special day. “Our priests give of themselves every day in so many different ways. It is an honor to recognize them in a manner in which entire parishes may join together in an outpouring of appreciation,” said Davis.

Priesthood Sunday is coordinated and sponsored by the USA Council of Serra International. Serra International is a worldwide Catholic organization of lay men and women dedicated to promoting vocations to the priesthood and religious life. More than 10,000 members in over 280 clubs are active in the United States. The USA Council is available at the number above or at The USA Council office is based in Chicago.


Copy, customize and then print this parish press release to promote your Priesthood Sunday celebration with local media.



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