Pope tells priest to “look up” and “think big”

Pope Francis calls on participants at the Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for Clergy to pay special attention to young priests. "It is so important for young priests to find parish priests and bishops to encourage them, and not just see them as filling an empty space!"

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Live priestly life looking up and thinking big". This was Pope Francis’ recommendation to priests, and especially young priests, in his address yesterday to the participants in the plenary assembly of the Congregation for the Clergy.

Those who receive the "great gift of the ordained ministry," in the Pope's words, have "a fascinating and demanding road ahead". Hence the need for ongoing formation, as indicated in the recent Ratio Fundamentalis document.

And, reflecting on the "fascination of vocation" and the "demands" that it implies, the Pope focused on "young priests", " who live the joy of the beginning of the ministry and, at the same time, perceive its weightiness." " The heart of a young priests lives between enthusiasm for the first projects and the anxiety of apostolic efforts, in which he immerses himself with a certain fear, which is a sign of wisdom."

The "responsibilities", of "many pastoral commitments" and the "expectations of the People of God" weigh on their shoulders. So " How does a young priest live all this? What does he bear in his heart? What does he need so that his feet, which run to take the happy proclamation of the Gospel, are not paralyzed in face of fear and the first difficulties?.”

First of all, "said the Pope, we should not label young people as "liquid generation, devoid of passions and ideals." If  there are “fragile, disoriented, fragmented young people or infected with the culture of consumerism and individualism”, this does not prevent us from looking at them as "creative and fanciful, courageous in change", able to "spend themselves for others or for ideals” such as "solidarity," "justice," and "peace. "

So, "Here is what I would say to young priests: you are chosen, you are dear to the Lord!"

Then, " It is so important it is for young priests to find parish priests and bishops to encourage them, and not just see them as filling an empty space!"

And never leave them alone. " if you, Bishop, know that in the list of calls that your secretary leaves you a priest has called and you have a full agenda, that same day, in the evening or the following day – not more – call him on the telephone and tell him how things are, evaluate it together, if it’s urgent, not urgent . . . But what is important is that that priest feels he has a father, a close father..... "

To all priests, and especially to young priests, finally the recommendation to "pray without tiredness, always walking and sharing with the heart". "Pray without getting tired" at the cost of falling asleep from tiredness in front of the Tabernacle. "But asleep, who loves the Lord! But stand there, in front of Him. " "Walking always because a priest never stands still." "Therefore, always be up to date and be open to the surprises of God!" Fight the decay of being "self-referential", "stay in the net", without "getting caught up in schemes". "Share with the heart," because the priestly life "is not a bureaucratic office of rushed religious or liturgical practices." "We talked so much about the 'bureaucratic priest' - no? - on the clerical state and not the shepherd of the people ...".