Pope Asks Spanish Priests to Take St. John of Avila as Model

Spaniard Will Soon Be Named Doctor of the Church

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By Junno Arocho

VATICAN CITY, MAY 10, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI received in audience today the Pontifical Spanish College of Saint Joseph of Rome, exhorting the young men to model their priestly life after Saint John of Avila, who the Pope recalled will be named shortly a doctor of the universal Church.

The Pope met with the group on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the college’s presence in Rome, which also coincided with the feast day of Saint John of Avila, patron saint of all Spanish clergy.

Benedict XVI recalled that the Pontifical Spanish College of St. Joseph began in 1892 when Blessed Manuel Domingo y Sol, founder of the Diocesan Laborer Priests, founded the college as well. He also said that in recent years thousands of seminarians and priests «who have served the Church in Spain with profound love and fidelity to its mission» have passed through the college.

The Holy Father noted that the formation of priests is one of the highest priorities of the Church as the holy people of God «need pastors who dedicate themselves to the beautiful service of the sanctification of the faithful with superior preparation and competence.»

He gave them as an example «the life and doctrine of the Holy Teacher John of Avila» and his deep knowledge of the Scriptures, the fathers of the Church, councils, liturgical sources and of «sound theology,» along with his faithful love and filial devotion for the Church.

The Pontiff went on to say that John of Avila’s life was a «genuine renewal, at a difficult time in the history of the Church.»

«Encouraged by the virtues and the example of Saint John of Avila, I invite you to carry out your presbyteral ministry with the same apostolic zeal that characterized him, with his same austerity of life, as well as with the same filial affection that he had for the Most Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of priests,» he said.

Benedict XVI announced at World Youth Day, held in Madrid, that Saint John of Avila would join other Spaniards such as St. Isidore of Seville, Saint Teresa of Jesus and Saint John of the Cross as doctors of the Church.

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-34757?l=english

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