The Holy Father today received the rector and students of the diocesan seminary of Rome, the Almo Collegio Capranica, on the eve of the feast day of their patroness, St Agnes. The Almo Collegio forms students to the priesthood for Rome, other Italian dioceses and the rest of the world.
The Pope called on the seminarians to use their formative years to take advantage "of every opportunity to bear effective witness to the Gospel among the men and women of our time."
He continued: "In order to respond to the expectations of modern society, and to cooperate in the immense evangelical activity that involves all Christians, there is need for well-trained and courageous priests who, without ambition or fear but convinced of gospel truth, make the announcement of Christ their first concern and, in His name, are ready to reach out to human suffering, bringing the comfort of God's love and the warmth of the ecclesial family to everyone, especially the poor and those undergoing difficulties."
The Holy Father then highlighted how this requires, "together with human maturity and close adherence to revealed truth, which the Magisterium of the Church faithfully reflects, a serious commitment to personal sanctity and the exercise of virtue, especially humility and charity. It is also necessary to nurture communion with the various elements of the People of God, so that everyone may have a growing awareness of belonging to the one Body of Christ."
"That all this may happen, I invite you to keep your gaze fixed on Christ. The more you remain in communion with Him, the more able you will be faithfully to follow His footsteps so that, 'love which binds every thing together in perfect harmony,' brings your love for the Lord to maturity under the guidance of the Holy Spirit."
Benedict XVI concluded by calling on those present to follow the example of committed priests, former seminarians of the Almo Collegio, who "have produced abundant fruits of knowledge and goodness in the Lord's vineyard."
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