Vatican Official: Priests Are 'Foreigners' in a World Far From God

Cardinal Opens Academic Year at Residence Run by Opus Dei

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ROME, OCT. 26, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy is urging priests to keep their eyes fixed on Peter, even though they are as foreigners in a world estranged from God.

Last Saturday, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza opened the academic year for the Tiberino Priestly College in Rome, a residence entrusted to the Opus Dei prelature, where priests from all over the world study. 

Cardinal Piacenza said in his homily that not only Jews were foreigners for a time in Egypt, but that today the priest “is necessarily a foreigner in a world that does not acknowledge God and that is immersed in the culture of death and pleasure, where there is only room for power and money.”

He encouraged the residents to “live with their eyes fixed on Peter.”

The Vatican official stressed the importance of the priests’ study in Rome, to “widen the priestly gaze to the ends of the world, so that all men can encounter Christ.”

The cardinal revealed that he has had a desire to help priests since he was young: “I prayed to the Virgin de la Guardia, patroness of Genoa, when I was young, that she would let me do something for priests and behold, for my whole life I have been in charge of them in some way. The Virgin is very smart!”

After the Eucharist, the day continued with a dinner and celebration with singing and shows performed by the college residents.

Some three dozen priests from more than 20 nations are currently residing at the college. They all study at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, and have been sent by their bishops for education in the Eternal City to be able to serve their dioceses better in the future.

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