Thursday, March 8, 2018

Greetings to German-speaking Rectors

At 10:30am this morning (4:30am EST), in the Consistory Hall at the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father, Pope Francis received in audience those who are participating in the Conference of German-speaking Seminary Rectors.

Greetings of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
offered to German-speaking Rectors

Dear confreres,

I greet you and wish to thank you for this fraternal gathering, which reinforces the journey of the new evangelization on our European continent.  I thank Rector Niehues for his courteous words.

As human beings and as priests we trust in the heritage of our experience.  At the same time, however, we must recognize that new and different cultural forms are emerging that do not fit within our current models.  We need to strip down some of the habits that we are accustomed to and examine aspects that are still unknown to us.  But even in this act, we can turn our gaze toward Jesus who suffered, died and rose again.  In his wounds, as is the case with the wounds of our world, we can recognize the signs of the Resurrection.  This certainty always places us - again and again - on the road as witnesses of hope.

Dear confreres, we cannot create vocations.  We can however be witnesses of the call that our merciful God shared with us.  He calls us, so that we can go out through our I and turn toward you.  This you is the real persons in need, those who need to know that other people are close by and that God is close.  And about this truth, we also want to raise the awareness of young people who are preparing for the priesthood.  At the same time, we are still being called to a larger community, that of the kyriakoi, those who belong to the Lord.  This community sustains us so that we can respond with all our hearts to the call of God.

I entrust all of you and the candidates to the priesthood from various German-speaking countries to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church.  And while I ask you please to pray also for me, with all my heart, I impart to each of you and to your communities my Apostolic blessing.

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