Aide: Benedict XVI Lived True "Priestly Life"

Says Church Will Celebrate Pope’s 60th Priestly Anniversary

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 20, 2011 ( Benedict XVI’s 60th anniversary as a priest, which the Pope will mark June 29, is an event the entire Church is preparing to celebrate with joy, says a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, said this on the most recent edition of Vatican Television’s «Octava Dies.»

The spokesman noted that Congregation for the Clergy has asked the bishops’ conferences around the world to «promote celebrations of thanksgiving as well as prayers, centered especially on Eucharistic Adoration, for priestly vocations — asking the Lord of the Harvest to send new laborers into his vineyard.»

Reflecting on the vocation of Joseph Ratzinger, Father Lombardi said that the life of the Pope «is truly a priestly life.»

The Jesuit explained: «[Ratzinger] received his vocation when he was very young, his seminary training was interrupted only by the dramatic experience of the Second World War, and he was ordained when he was 24, along with his older brother and a large group of young people who had already proved their loyalty to God and the Church.

«Their examples were priests like the young Alojs Andrìtzki, who was killed at Dachau in 1943 at the age of 31, and who was beatified just a few days ago. As he entered the concentration camp he swore: ‘We will never forget our priesthood, not even for a moment.'»

Father Lombardi also mentioned some of the reflections Benedict XVI himself has given on the priesthood, noting that the Pope’s words «spring from the very depths of his own personal experience of grace, received and cultivated with loyalty.»

He quoted Benedict XVI’s address from last June at the closing Mass of the Year for Priests: «This audacity of God who entrusts himself to human beings — who, conscious of our weaknesses, nonetheless considers men capable of acting and being present in his stead — this audacity of God is the true grandeur concealed in the word ‘priesthood.'»

«We join the Pope’s prayer in spirit,» concluded Father Lombardi. «We ask for the grace to follow his example of humility and joyful loyalty in serving this audacious God, in effectively inspiring new vocations and promoting the holiness of all priests.»

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