Says preaching should center on Scripture, be rooted in prayer, and speak to the heart
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis ordained 19 men to the priesthood for the diocese of Rome, on the day the Church celebrates Good Shepherd Sunday and the 52nd World Day of Prayer for Vocations.
In his homily during Holy Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pope reminded the 19 men being ordained that, through their configuration to Christ the High Priest, they continue his sacrificial work, primarily through the offering of the Sacrifice of the Mass.
He therefore told them: “When you celebrate Mass, be aware of what you are doing. Don’t be in a hurry. Imitate what you celebrate — it is not an artificial rite, an artificial ritual.”
He also said their preaching should center on Scripture, be rooted in prolonged prayer and meditation on the sacred page, and speak to the heart.
“May your homilies not be boring; may your homilies go right to people’s hearts, since they come from your heart. For what you say to them is what you have in your heart.”
Speaking of their responsibility as priests to dispense the Sacraments, Pope Francis said never to refuse anyone who sincerely requests Baptism.
And in the confessional, he urged the 19 men being ordained never to tire of showing mercy.
“Through the Sacrament of Penance, you will absolve sins in the name of Christ and His Church. And I, in the name of Jesus Christ, the Lord, and His Bride, the Church, ask you never to tire of being merciful. In the confessional you are there to forgive, not to condemn. Imitate the Father, who never tires of forgiving,” he said.
Finally, on the day the Church celebrates Good Shepherd Sunday, Pope Francis told them to keep ever before their eyes the example of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, “who came not to be served, but to serve; not to remain in comfort, but to go out and seek and save what was lost.”
Later on Sunday morning, at the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis presented two of the newly-ordained priests to the faithful at the window of his study in the Apostolic Palace, to greet and thank them for their prayers. The Pope asked the Blessed Virgin “to obtain for [him], for bishops, and for priests throughout the world the grace to serve God’s holy people through the joyous preaching of the Gospel, the sincere celebration of the Sacraments, and patient and meek pastoral guidance.”
Diane Montagna is Rome correspondent for Aleteia’s English edition.