Pontiff Offers Curé d'Ars as Model for Laity

Says Priest Loved the Poor

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 27, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI offered St. John Mary Vianney, known as the Curé d’Ars, as a role model not only for priests, but also for the laity.

The Pope said this today upon receiving in audience a delegation representing the Circolo San Pietro (Circle of St. Peter), an Italian charity founded in 1869.

«A short while ago we concluded the Year for Priests,» the Holy Father said, «a time of grace during which the Church reflected with special attention on the figure of St. John Marie Vianney, the holy Curé d’Ars, observing the 150th anniversary of his death.»

«He is a model of evangelical life not only for priests, but for laypeople, especially for those who work, as you do, in the vast field of charity,» the Pontiff affirmed. «A peculiar aspect of the life of this humble priest was, in fact, his detachment from material goods. He did not own anything, he gave everything away to the most needy; it did not feel the necessity of having anything for himself: He considered everything superfluous.

«He learned the love of the poor as a boy, seeing how they were welcomed and helped by his parents at home. This love led him, in the course of his priestly life, to give away everything he had. He also founded a home that he called Providence for poor children and girls: He dedicated every effort to them so that they would receive a healthy Christian education.»

«May his example constitute for you, dear members of the Circolo San Pietro, a constant invitation to open your arms to every person who has need of a tangible sign of solidarity,» Benedict XVI continued. «Continue to be a concrete sign of the Pope’s charity to whomever finds themselves in need, whether materially or spiritually, and to the pilgrims who come to Rome from every part of the world to visit the tombs of the Apostles and to meet the Successor of Peter.»

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-29721?l=english

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