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Pope to German Rectors: Witness to the Merciful Call of God

March 8, 2018. ‘Trust in our heritage…recognize new models.’

Pope Francis on March 8, 2018, encouraged the rectors of German-speaking seminaries to “be witnesses of the merciful call from God to us.”

His remarks came in the Apostolic Palace Consistory Hall of the Vatican, where he had an audience with the rector’s conference.

“As human persons and as priests we trust in the heritage of our experiences,” the Holy Father said. “At the same time, however, we must recognize that are springing up new and different cultural forms that do not fit in the models known to us. We must strip ourselves of some habits we are attached to, and work with what is still unknown.”

The Vatican-provided text of the Pope’s remarks:

Dear brothers,

I cordially greet you. Thanks for this fraternal meeting, which strengthens us in the path of the new evangelization of our European continent. I thank the Chancellor for his kind words.

As human persons and as priests we trust in the heritage of our experiences. At the same time, however, we must recognize that are springing up new and different cultural forms that do not fit in the models known to us. We must strip ourselves of some habits we are attached to, and work with what is still unknown. But even here we can always look to Jesus who suffered, died and rose again. In his wounds, as well as in those of the world, we can recognize the signs of the Resurrection. This certainty always puts us on the road again as witnesses of hope.

Dear brothers, the vocations we cannot create. We can, however, be witnesses of the merciful call from God to us. He calls us, so we go out of our “I” and we address ourselves to the “you.” This “it” is the concrete person of the needy, to those who need the proximity of men and of closeness to God. And this we also want to raise awareness among young men preparing for the priesthood. At the same time, all of us are always called to a greater community, that of kyriakoi, those who belong to the Lord. This community supports us so that we can respond wholeheartedly to God’s call.

I commend you and the candidates to the priesthood in German-speaking countries to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. And while I ask you to please pray for me, I cordially impart to you and to your communities my Apostolic Blessing.