Aparecida (AsiaNews) – In line with the “school of faith” which is Mary, “may the missionary fervour, the passion for an increasingly contemporary approach to evangelization, the authentic apostolic spirit and the zeal for souls always be present in your lives!” said Benedict XVI in greeting the priests, men and women religious, seminarians and deacons of Brazil who came for the 5th General Conference of Latin American and Caribbean Bishops at the Nossa Senhora da Conceiçao Aparecida shrine and who recited the Rosary that ended the fourth day of the Pope’s trip to Brazil.
“Remain in the school of Mary” was the idea around which he developed his reflection. “Take inspiration from her teachings; seek to welcome and to preserve in your hearts the enlightenment that she, by divine mandate, sends you from on high.”
“I greet the dear priests who are present,” he added, “and I keep in my thoughts and prayers all the priests spread throughout the world, especially those in Latin America and the Caribbean, including the Fidei donum priests. What great challenges, what difficult situations you have to face, with such generosity, self-denial, sacrifices and renunciations! Your faithfulness in the exercise of the ministry and the life of prayer, your search for holiness, your total self-giving to God at the service of your brothers and sisters, as you expend your lives and energy in order to promote justice, fraternity, solidarity and sharing—all this speaks powerfully to my pastoral heart. The witness of a priestly life well lived brings nobility to the Church, calls forth admiration among the faithful, and is a source of blessings for the community; it is the best way to promote vocations, the most authentic invitation to other young people to respond positively to the Lord’s call. It is true collaboration in building the Kingdom of God!”
Similarly, Benedict XVI turned his attention to each group within the Church community, from the religious to the laity and the families, “who are gathered here to represent all the dearly beloved Christian families present throughout the world. I rejoice especially with you and I offer you an embrace of peace.”
By way of conclusion he invited everyone to consider the Church as “our home.” “The Pope therefore wants to say to all of you: The Church is our home! This is our home! In the Catholic Church we find all that is good, all that gives grounds for security and consolation! Anyone who accepts Christ, ‘the way, the truth and the life’ in his totality, is assured of peace and happiness, in this life and in the next! For this reason, the Pope has come here to pray and to bear witness with you all: The coherence of the faith also requires it is worth being faithful, it is worth persevering in our faith!, however, a solid doctrinal and spiritual formation, which thus contributes to building a more just, humane and Christian society.