Prayer Must Nourish Unity, Pope Tells Future Priests

Meets With Representatives From Almo Collegio Capranica

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 19, 2004 ( John Paul II told representatives of a historic house of formation for seminarians that «intense and incessant prayer» must nourish the spirit of fraternal communion.

The Pope delivered that message when he met Saturday with 70 representatives of the Almo Collegio Capranica community.

The meeting came in the context of this Wednesday’s celebration of the college’s protector, the Roman martyr St. Agnes. Attendees included the college’s rector, Monsignor Alfredo Abbondi, and Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope’s vicar for Rome and president of the bishops’ Commission for the Higher Direction of the Collegio.

Conscious of the college’s «spirit of fraternal communion,» John Paul II reminded those who are preparing for the priesthood that such a spirit «must be nourished above all by intense and incessant prayer, God being the source of our unity.»

«In addition, it calls for the sharing of the same objectives and ideals, tending to the union of minds and hearts,» the Pope continued.

«The cement of unity must never be lacking and, consequently, of charity, true ‘vis unitiva,’ together with the exercise of virtues, especially obedience and humility, seeking evangelical perfection tirelessly,» the Holy Father emphasized.

«The Lord, who has chosen you as ministers, wills that you be saints, consecrated totally to him and to his Church,» the Pope said. «May this be your principal preoccupation, to which must be added daily endeavors for a solid human and doctrinal formation.»

The Almo Collegio Capranica has 50 students. Founded in 1457 by Cardinal Domenico Capranica, it was reformed by Alexander VII and Pius VII. The institution is under the Congregation for Catholic Education, and its rector is appointed directly by the Pope.

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