Vatican: Priests Need Rambo-esque Spiritual Muscle

Archbishop Piacenza Presents Year for Priests Activities

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By Carmen Villa

ROME, NOV. 29, 2009 (Zenit.org).- A priest’s soul should have “interior muscle” comparable to the physical strength of Rambo, which is nourished with “prayer, the interior life and true motivation,” says the secretary for the Congregation for Clergy.

Archbishop Mauro Piacenza said this Friday upon meeting with a small group of journalists to present some reflections and activities that will take place in Rome in the context of the Year for Priests.

The year will close Friday, June 11, solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with a liturgical celebration at St. Peter’s Basilica, presided over by Benedict XVI.
 
The archbishop noted that during this year dedicated to the priesthood, of which five months have already passed, many priests have been renewed in their vocation. He clarified that “renewal” did not mean “revolution,” but rather the rediscovery of the root of one’s vocation to the priesthood.
 
He added that during this year gratitude should be expressed “for a service that so many times is done in a hidden way,” and that the “first thing we must do is pray.”
 
“Priests at times have to row against the current,” said Archbishop Piacenza, speaking “in an evangelical sense, that is, to undertake a war, but of holiness.”

Nothing extraordinary

He invited priests to keep in mind the figure of the holy Curé d’Ars: “What extraordinary thing did he do? Nothing. He centered everything in his vocation: pastoral works, the Eucharist and Confession.”
 
The 65-year-old prelate noted that St. John Mary Vianney did “not have very particular gifts of intelligence,” but he “was an exceptional pastor.”

The archbishop added that the saint didn’t “get a degree in pastoral care,” and that the work of a priest is learned “with the love of God.”
 
Archbishop Piacenza also noted the example of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, who offered many prayers, sacrifices and mortifications for the holiness of priests.
 
“She was a mother within the Carmel community. She became the guardian angel of many priests,” the archbishop said.
 
The archbishop also spoke of the two meetings being organized by the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi for priests.

A congress titled “Fidelity to Christ, Fidelity of the Priest” will be held March 11-12 at the Pontifical Lateran University.

From June 9-11, the World Meeting of Priests will be held in Rome with several academic and liturgical activities to take place in Rome’s four major basilicas.

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