Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) - The Year priesthood is "a valuable opportunity to deepen the importance of the mission of priests in the Church and the world." Benedict XVI returned to the theme of the value of the Year for Priests launched in June to renew the mission and the contemplation of Catholic priests. And he does so with his first Angelus from Castel Gandolfo, where he arrived July 29, after a rest period in Val d'Aosta.
“Useful ideas” for reflection were given by the pope, commenting some of the saint’s feasts of these first days of August, who are “real models of spirituality and priestly dedication."
"Yesterday was the memorial of St. Alphonsus Maria de 'Liguori, bishop and doctor of the Church, a great teacher of moral theology and a model of virtue and Christian pastoral dedication always attentive to the religious needs of people. Today we contemplate in Saint Francis of Assisi the ardent love for the salvation of souls, which every priest must constantly nurture: we remember the so-called 'Pardon of Assisi', which he obtained from Pope Honorius III in 1216, after having had a vision, while he was in prayer in the church of the Porziuncola. Jesus appeared in his glory, with the Virgin Mary at his right and many Angels around. He asked him to make a wish, and Francis begged for a 'broad and generous pardon' for all those who 'repented and confessed' visited that church. On receiving papal approval, the Saint did not wait for any written document, but ran to Assisi, and came to the Porziuncola announcing the good news: 'My brothers, I want to send everyone to Heaven!'. Since then, from noon on August 1 to midnight on the 2, you can gain, according to the usual conditions, a plenary indulgence for the dead, by visiting a Franciscan church or parish”.
The pope also stressed the role of John Mary Vianney, the holy Curé of Ars, which is cited as a model for priests in this special year.
"What can we say of St. John Mary Vianney, who we will remember August 4? In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of his death, I launched the Year for Priests. Of this humble parish priest, a model of priestly life not only for parish priests but for all priests, I intend to speak in my catechesis during the general audience on Wednesday. On August 7, we will celebrate St. Cajetan of Thiene, who used to repeat that 'not with sentimental love, but with the love of the facts souls are purified'. And the next day, on August 8, the Church recalls the model of St. Dominic, of whom it was written, he 'opened his mouth to pray with God or to speak of God’. Finally, I can not forget the great figure of Pope Montini, Pope Paul VI. August 6 marks the 31 anniversary of his death here at Castel Gandolfo. His life, so deep and priestly and rich in so much humanity, remains a gift for the Church, for which we must thank God. May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, help all priests to be totally in love with Christ, following the example of these models of priestly holiness. "