Mission and History
World Priest Day Mission Statement
World Priest Day (WPD) is a celebration & affirmation of the men 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 of World Priest Day
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 & priest 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 US Secretariat leadership board.
One year later, Worldwide Marriage Encounter officially established the third Sunday of September as World Priest Day. During the thirty-five 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 last Sunday in October to coincide with the Serra Club’s celebration of Priesthood Sunday. This became effective in 2007.