John Paul II Urges 26 New Priests to Be Fearless

Keep Jesus at Center of Life, He Tells Ordinands

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 2, 2004 ( John Paul II ordained 26 priests in St. Peter’s Basilica and invited them to be witnesses of Christ in a society that seems to want to forget God.

Seventeen of the new priests are Italians. The others come from Panama, Peru, Mexico, Spain, Poland, Hungary, Equatorial Guinea, India and Madagascar.

They were educated in seminaries of the city of Rome — the Pontifical Major Roman Seminary, the Capranica College, and the diocesan seminary Redemptoris Mater, as well as the congregation of Oblates Sons of Our Lady of Love, the Priestly Fraternity of the Sons of the Cross, and the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions.

«You are becoming priests at a time when, also here in Rome, strong cultural tendencies seem to want to make one forget God, especially among young people and families,» the Pope said in his homily.

«But do not be afraid: God will always be with you! With his help you will be able to walk on the ways that lead to the heart of every man and to proclaim to him that the Good Shepherd has given his life for him and wishes him to participate in his mystery of love and salvation,» the Holy Father said.

«To carry out this work, which is so necessary, Jesus must always be at the center of your life and you must remain in intimate union with him through prayer, daily personal meditation, faithfulness to the Liturgy of the Hours, and especially the daily devout celebration of the Eucharist,» the Pope added.

«If you are full of God, you will be true apostles of the new evangelization, because no one can give what he does not have in his heart,» he said.

After the Mass, John Paul II addressed 20,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray the Regina Caeli. He asked that they «pray so that numerous and holy vocations will never be lacking in the Church.»

Today, the Church observed a World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

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