Priests Urged to Focus on Friendship With Christ

Document Issued for a World Day of Prayer

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2005 ( The Holy See is proposing that priests rediscover that friendship with Christ which led them to embrace their vocation in the first place.

«The secret or key of priestly life is the passionate love of Christ, which brings with it Christ’s passionate announcement,» affirms a document issued by the Congregation for Clergy, for the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests.

This day, which will be held this Friday, solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, was introduced in the Church by Pope John Paul II.

The document issued by the Vatican dicastery includes John Paul II’s Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday 2005, as well as Benedict XVI’s first proposals.

The new Bishop of Rome «has called us to live this Year of the Eucharist rediscovering the friendship of Christ,» making it «the key to our priestly existence,» explains the document.

«We are called to ‘always return again to the root of our priesthood. This root, as we well know, is a single thing, Our Lord Jesus Christ,'» explains the text.

Great potential

Quoting Benedict XVI’s homily at the Mass that officially inaugurated his pontificate, the document states: «Whoever lets Christ enter will not lose anything, nothing that will render life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of the human condition opened up. Only in this friendship do we experience what is good and free.»

The feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was promulgated after Christ’s apparitions to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), a religious of the Visitation in the French town of Paray-le-Monial.

When Christ appeared to the saint he expressed his sorrow over the sins and sacrileges of humanity, but especially the infidelities of those consecrated to him, particularly his priests.

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