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Imitate St. John of Avila, Pope encourages Spanish clerics

Catholic World News - May 10, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI met on May 10 with students and faculty from the Pontifical Spanish College in Rome, which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its current foundation.

Remembering the many Spanish priests who have been trained at the Roman institution, the Holy Father said that the proper formation of clerics is a critical challenge for the Church. He encouraged the students to give top priority to their own spiritual lives, saying: “You can not bring Christ to your brethren, nor can you find Him in the poor and the sick,” said Pope Benedict, “if you do not discover Him first in fervent and constant prayer.”

The Pope reminded his Spanish visitors that he will soon formally declare their countryman, St. John of Avila, a Doctor of the Church. He encouraged them all to imitate the saint’s example, saying: “His profound knowledge of Holy Scripture, the Fathers, the Councils, liturgy and sound theology, accompanied by his faithful and filial love for the Church, made him a true renovator at a difficult time in ecclesiastical history.”

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