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Pope Francis Gives Christmas Blessing to Roman Curia

©ALESSIA GIULIANI/CPP
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The Pontiff emphasizes the importance of holiness, professionalism and service in the Curia

Pope Francis met with the Superiors and officials of the Roman Curia (the Church’s governing body) on Saturday, in the Clementine Hall, to offer them his first Christmas address as Pontiff.

He greeted the Cardinals and priests with affection, remembering the importance of thankfulness as we wait for the birth of our Lord.

“While our hearts are full of gratitude to God, who so loved us that he gave us his only-begotten Son” said the Pontiff, “it is also good to make room for gratitude to one another.”

He acknowledged each one of them for their service to the Church. “I thank you for the work which you do each day: for the care, diligence and creativity which you display; and for your effort.”

Pope Francis also remembered the retired members, who he said “have worked here for so many years with immense dedication, hidden from the eyes of the world.”  He described them as “people who work with competence, precision and self-sacrifice in the fulfilment of their daily duties.”

“This is something truly admirable,” he added.

The Holy Father continued to describe two “hallmarks” of the curial official and superior: “professionalism and service.”

“Professionalism, by which I mean competence, study, keeping abreast of things… This is a basic requisite for working in the Curia” Francis declared.

“The second hallmark is service” he continued. “Service to the Pope and to the bishops, to the universal Church and to the particular Churches.”

“In the Roman Curia, one learns – in a real way, ‘one breathes in’ – this twofold aspect of the Church, this interplay of the universal and the particular. I think that this is one of the finest experiences of those who live and work in Rome: "to sense" the Church in this way.”

Pope Francis also added a third vital quality for the Curia members: “holiness of life.”

“We know very well that, in the hierarchy of values, this is the most important” he asserted. “It is basic for the quality of our work, our service.”

“Holiness means a life immersed in the Spirit, a heart open to God, constant prayer, deep humility and fraternal charity in our relationships with our fellow workers. It also means apostleship, discreet and faithful pastoral service, zealously carried out in direct contact with God’s people.”

“For priests, this is indispensable” he added.

The Holy Father finished his first Christmas address to the Curia by suggesting that they let themselves be guided by St Joseph at this special time in the Church’s year.

“Dear brothers and sisters, let us feel close to one another on this final stretch of the road to Bethlehem” he exclaimed. “We would do well to meditate on Saint Joseph, who was so silent yet so necessary at the side of Our Lady. Let us think about him and his loving concern for his Spouse and for the Baby Jesus. This can tell us a lot about our own service to the Church! So let us experience this Christmas in spiritual closeness to Saint Joseph.”

Pope Francis then thanked them again, blessed them and wished them all a very “Happy Christmas!”