Pope to New Priests: Never Tire of Being Merciful

Keep Before Your Eyes Example of the Good Shepherd, Francis Says

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“If you do not enter your ministry through the Lord’s wounds, you will not be good pastors.” Pope Francis has reminded new priests.  

On the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis ordained 13 new priests at Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica Sunday morning, stressing the importance of being merciful.

“And I say to you, truly: I feel so much sorrow when I meet people who no longer go to Confession because they were beaten and shouted at. They felt that the doors of the churches were shut in their face!” said Francis.

“Please, don’t do this,» he said. «Mercy, mercy! The good shepherd enters by the door and the door of mercy is the Lord’s wounds.” 

“Have much mercy!»

During his homily, he called on the newly ordained to do three things: be aware they have been chosen among men and constituted in their favor to attend to the things of God, exercise in gladness and in sincere charity the priestly work of Christ, and be intent on «pleasing God alone” and “not yourselves.”

“Always keep before your eyes the example of the Good Shepherd, who did not come to be served, but to serve, and to seek and save what was lost,” the Pope stressed.

The Mass was concelebrated by the Cardinal Vicar of Rome Agostino Vallini, Archbishop Filippo Iannone, vicegerent of Rome, the auxiliary bishops of Rome, the rectors of the seminaries, and the pastors of the newly ordained.

Eleven of the new priests were ordained for the diocese of Rome. Wanting to meet the men he would be ordaining personally, Pope Francis had already received them, on April 25 at Casa Santa Marta.

Francis also ordained two non-Italian men: a religious of the Order of Discalced Augustinians from Pakistan and a Vietnamese seminarian from the Diocese of Vinh.

In his homily, Pope Francis spoke about the vocation to the sacramental priesthood. The ordained, he said, “will be configured to Christ, High and Eternal Priest, that is, they will be consecrated as true priests of the New Testament” so that they become “preachers of the Gospel, pastors of the people of God, and will preside over the acts of worship, especially in the celebration of the Lord’s sacrifice.”

The Pope advised them to «dispense to all that Word, which you yourselves received with joy from your mothers, from your catechists.

«Read and meditate assiduously the Word of the Lord to believe what you read, to teach what you have learned in the faith, to live what you have taught,” he said.

Calling on them to do as Jesus did, he said: «Never tire of being merciful! Please! You have that capacity of forgiveness that the Lord had, who did not come to condemn, but to forgive!

«And if the scruple comes to you of being too “forgiving,” think of that priest about whom I spoke to you, who would go in front of the Tabernacle and say: “Lord, forgive me if I have forgiven too much. But it is You who gave me the bad example!” (D.C.L.)


On Zenit’s web page:

Full translation: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-address-to-new-priests-at-their-ordination

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