Against the glorious backdrop of St Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis on Sunday ordained 19 men to the priesthood. His homily, as in the past, was based on a pre-set formula for Masses of Ordination performed by bishops.
The Good Shepherd
In it, he told the new priests to, “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.
Never tire of being merciful
On this World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which is also known as Good Shepherd Sunday, 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”.
Give freely as you have received
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, the Pontiff underlined, is the culmination of the Lord’s giving freely. Please don’t soil it with petty interests.”
The priest, Pope Francis added, should be “close to God in prayer”, “to the bishop”, “to the presbytery”, “to the other priests” and “to the People of God”.
The new priests
Eight of the new priests are from the Priestly Society of the Sons of the Cross; one belongs to the Family of Disciples. Two of the men studied at the Rome’s Major Seminary and eight received formation at the Redemptoris Mater Seminary for the neo-catechumenal way.
Of the 19 priests ordained on Sunday one is originally from Zabreb. They also hail from 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, a men of sacrifice, so that by word and example you may build the house of God, which is the Church.”