Monday, February 27, 2006

St. Joseph, Encouragement on the Path to the Priesthood

VATICAN CITY, FEB 25, 2006 (VIS) - In keeping with an annual tradition of his predecessor John Paul II, this afternoon Benedict XVI visited the major seminary of Rome, on the occasion of the feast of its patroness, Our Lady of Trust.

After listening to a musical composition dedicated to St. Joseph and entitled "Shadow of the Father," the Pope highlighted how the example of this "'just man,' fully responsible before God and before Mary, provides encouragement for everyone on the path to the priesthood. We see him ever-attentive to the voice of the Lord Who guides the events of history, ready to follow His guidance; always faithful, generous and impassive in his service, an effective master of prayer and work in the obscurity of Nazareth.

"I can assure you," the Pope continued in his address to the seminarians, "that the more you progress, with the grace of God, along the path of the priesthood, the more you will experience the rich spiritual fruits [to be gained] by referring to St. Joseph and invoking his support when carrying out your daily duties."

The Holy Father then expressed the hope that the seminarians "learn to repeat the beautiful invocation 'Mater mea, fiducia mea'" of his "venerated predecessor" Benedict XV. "May these words remain impressed on the hearts of each of you and accompany you always during your lives and your priestly ministry. Thus, wherever you may be, you will be able to propagate the fragrance of Mary's own trust, which is trust in the provident and faithful love of God."

The Pope told the seminarians that on his arrival in the seminary he had prayed in the chapel for each of them, and that his thoughts had also gone out to "the many seminarians who have passed through the Roman seminary and who have served with love the Church of Christ. I am thinking, among others, of Fr. Andrea Santoro who was murdered recently in Turkey, as he was praying."

"I also invoked the Mother of the Redeemer, that she may obtain the gift of sanctity for you also. May the Holy Spirit Who formed the priestly Heart of Jesus in the Virgin's womb and then in the house of Nazareth, work in each of you with His grace, preparing you for the future tasks that will be entrusted to you."

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