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Priests fulfill themselves by serving others, Pope tells clergy of Rome

March 28, 2013

Pope Francis encouraged the pastors of Rome to be “shepherds who have the smell of their sheep” as he celebrated the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, March 28.

The Pope told the priests of his Rome diocese that “it is not in soul-searching or constant introspection that we encounter the Lord,” but in serving others. He said that priests who feel dissatisfied with their role can cure the problem by reaching out to their people, bringing them spiritual and material help.

To be a priest, the Pope explained, means to “be for others.” He said: “When we put on our simple chasuble, it might well make us feel, upon our shoulders and in our hearts, the burdens and the faces of our faithful people, our saints and martyrs, of which we have so many in our times.”

The Chrism Mass—in which the bishop blesses the sacramental oils to be used during the coming liturgical year—is traditionally celebrated in Rome at the basilica of St. John Lateran, which is officially the seat of the Bishop of Rome. Pope Francis celebrated the Mass at St. Peter’s basilica because he has not yet formally “taken possession” of the Lateran basilica.


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