On Priestly Ordinations and Pentecost

Without Holy Spirit, Church Is «Merely Human»

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 15, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered in Italian from the window of his study overlooking St. Peter’s square before praying the Regina Caeli today at midday.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

The eucharistic celebration just concluded in St. Peter’s Basilica, in which I had the joy of ordaining 21 new priests, is an event that marks an important moment of growth for our community. From the ordained ministers it receives life, especially through the service of the Word of God and the sacraments. Therefore, it is a day of celebration for the Church of Rome. And for the new priests this is, in a special way, their Pentecost. I renew my greetings to them and I pray that the Holy Spirit will accompany them always in their ministry. Let us thank God for the gift of the new presbyters, and let us pray that in Rome, as well as in the whole world, numerous and holy priestly vocations will flower and mature.

The happy coincidence between Pentecost and the priestly ordinations allows me to highlight the indissoluble bond that exists in the Church between the Spirit and the institution. I already mentioned it last Saturday, when taking possession of the chair of the Bishop of Rome in St. John Lateran. The chair and the Spirit are profoundly united realities, as are the charism and ordained ministry.

Without the Holy Spirit, the Church would be reduced to a merely human organization, with the weight of its very structures. For its part, moreover, in God’s plans, the Spirit habitually makes use of human mediations to act in history. Precisely for this reason, Christ, who constituted his Church on the foundation of the Apostles united around Peter, enriched her with the gift of the Spirit, so that he would console her (cf. John 14:16) and guide her to all the truth (cf. John 16:13). May the ecclesial community remain always open and docile to the action of the Holy Spirit, in order to be a credible sign and effective instrument of God’s action among men.

We commend this hope to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, whom we contemplate today in the glorious mystery of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit, who descended on her in Nazareth to have her become the mother of the Word Incarnate (cf. Luke 1:35), descended today on the nascent Church gathered around her in the cenacle (cf. Acts 1:14). With confidence, let us invoke Mary Most Holy that she may obtain a renewed effusion of the Spirit on the Church of our days.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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