Pope Ordains 20 Priests and Asks Them to Be Saints

Advises Use of Sacrament of Reconciliation

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 21, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II ordained 20 priests in St. Peter´s Basilica and reminded them that their vocation is to «holiness.»

During his homily at the ordination Mass, the Pope told the 20 that Jesus «calls you to be with him in privileged intimacy. He asks you for a more rigorous poverty and the humility of a servant who makes himself the last of all.»

«In a word, the Lord wants you to be saints,» he said. «Holiness is the perspective toward which the whole pastoral care of the Church must be directed.»

The new priests belong to the Diocese of Rome, where they will carry out their ministry. Twelve are Italian, six Latin American, one Spanish, and one African. Six were formed in the Redemptoris Mater Seminary founded by the Neocatechumenal Way.

The Holy Father gave the new priests special advice during the homily: be «holy ministers of Divine Mercy.»

«First of all, live for yourself the wonderful grace of reconciliation, as a profound need and ever hoped-for gift,» John Paul II explained. «You will give new vigor and impetus to your way of holiness and your ministry.»

«God counts on the faithful willingness of each one of you to work extraordinary miracles of love in the heart of believers,» the Pope continued.

«At the source of reconciliation, of which you must be generous and faithful dispensers, the baptized will be able to have a living and consoling experience of Christ, the Good Shepherd, full of joy for each one of the lost sheep that has been found again,» he said.

John Paul II ordains priests every year on this Sunday, which the Church observes as World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

Later, before reciting the Regina Caeli with the faithful gathered in St. Peter´s Square, the Pope said that he prays «for all the priests who have been or will be consecrated this year, so that they will give a valid witness of the Good Shepherd.» And he asked all Christian to pray «so that numerous and holy vocations will flower to the priesthood and consecrated life.»

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