Pope Francis ordains 19 priests on Good Shepherd Sunday

  • (Updated )

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Source: Vatican Media

Pope Francis on Sunday ordained 19 men to the priesthood in St Peter's Basilica on Sunday.

In his homily he told the new priests: "always keep in mind the example of the Good Shepherd who came not to be served but to serve, and to seek out and rescue those who were lost." He also made it clear that what they were entering into was "not a cultural association or a trade union". "You will be part of the ministry of Christ," he said.

On this World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis said they should to not "tire of being merciful." Focusing his thoughts on the Sacrament of Penance, the Pope urged the 19 men to be "as merciful as the Father, as Jesus was merciful to us, to all of us."

The Pope also encouraged them be attentive in the celebration of the Eucharist. "The Lord wanted to save us freely. He himself told us: "Give for free what you have received for free... The celebration of the Eucharist, is the culmination of the Lord's giving freely. Please don't soil it with petty interests."

Pope Francis said a priest should be "close to God in prayer.. to the bishop .. to the presbytery.. to other priests and to the People of God."

Eight of the new priests are from the Priestly Society of the Sons of the Cross; one belongs to the Family of Disciples. Two studied at Rome's Major Seminary and eight received formation at the Redemptoris Mater Seminary for the neo-catechumenal way. They come from Croatia, Italy, Haiti, Japan and Peru.

"Let what you teach be nourishment for the people of God", Pope Francis said. "Let the holiness of your lives be a delightful fragrance to Christ's faithful: you will be a men of prayer, men of sacrifice, so that by word and example you may build the house of God, which is the Church."

To all mother's, the Pope sent warm greetings on this "Mother's Day, thanking them for their precious work in raising children and protecting family values. We also remember, the Pope said, "the mothers who look down on us from heaven and continue to watch over us with their prayers."

Later, during the Regina Coeli with pilgrims in St Peter's Square following the Mass, Pope Francis called to mind Jesus presenting himself as the true Shepherd of God's people. He again wished all Mothers a Happy Mother's Day.

Focussing on the day's Gospel which recounts the story of Jesus presenting himself as the true Shepherd of God's people, Pope Francis said the reading "invites us to live our relationship with Christ with full confidence and familiarity."

"My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life and they will not be lost." By reading this sentence carefully, he said: "we see that the work of Jesus is expressed in a number of actions: He speaks, knows, gives eternal life, guards."

The Good Shepherd, Jesus, "is attentive to each one of us, he seeks and loves us, addressing to us his word, knowing the depths of our hearts, our desires and our hopes, as well as our failures and our disappointments."

The Pope went on to say that the verbs and gestures that describe the way in which Jesus, the Good Shepherd, communicates with us are matched by the verbs that concern the sheep: "they listen to my voice," "they follow me."

They are actions, he said, "that show how we must correspond to the tender and caring attitudes of the Lord."

After the Regina Coeli, Pope Francis said the theme for this year's World Day of Prayer for Vocations is: "The courage to take risks for the promise of God." He also spoke of his joy in ordaining the new priests and invited two of them to greet and bless the faithful in the square alongside him.

Tags: Vocation, Mothers' Day, Good Shepherd Sunday, Pope Francis, Regina Coeli, St Peter's, Vatican

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