My dear people of St. Mary’s:
Last weekend Pope Francis ordained ten men to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Rome in St. Peter’s Basilica. Before the Mass, the Holy Father surprised the men by appearing in the sacristy and spending a moment in prayer with each of them before commending them and their ministry to the Blessed Virgin. During the ordination Mass, Pope Francis preached to them of the beautiful mystery of the priestly vocation:
It is true that God has made his entire holy people a royal priesthood in Christ. Nevertheless, our great Priest himself, Jesus Christ, chose certain disciples to carry out publicly in his name, and on behalf of mankind, a priestly office in the Church. For Christ was sent by the Father and he in turn sent the Apostles into the world, so that through them and their successors, the Bishops, he might continue to exercise his office of Teacher, Priest, and Shepherd. Indeed, priests are established co-workers of the Order of Bishops, with whom they are joined in the priestly office and with whom they are called to the service of the people of God…
Now, my dear brothers and sons, you are to be raised to the Order of the Priesthood. For your part you will exercise the sacred duty of teaching in the name of Christ the Teacher. Impart to everyone the word of God which you have received with joy. Remember your mothers, your grandmothers, your catechists, who gave you the word of God, the faith … the gift of faith! They transmitted to you this gift of faith. Meditating on the law of the Lord, see that you believe what you read, that you teach what you believe, and that you practice what you teach. Remember too that the word of God is not your property: it is the word of God. And the Church is the custodian of the word of God…
You will gather others into the people of God through Baptism, and you will forgive sins in the name of Christ and the Church in the sacrament of Penance. Today I ask you in the name of Christ and the Church, never tire of being merciful. You will comfort the sick and the elderly with holy oil: do not hesitate to show tenderness towards the elderly. When you celebrate the sacred rites, when you offer prayers of praise and thanks to God throughout the hours of the day, not only for the people of God but for the world—remember then that you are taken from among men and appointed on their behalf for those things that pertain to God. Therefore, carry out the ministry of Christ the Priest with constant joy and genuine love, attending not to your own concerns but to those of Jesus Christ. You are pastors, not functionaries. Be mediators, not intermediaries. Finally, dear sons, … strive to bring the faithful together into one family, so that you may lead them to God the Father through Christ in the Holy Spirit.
And let us always remember to pray for vocations; the vocations we so desperately need.