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Become shepherds, not bureaucrats, Pope tells seminarians

Catholic World News - April 14, 2014

In an April 14 address to seminarians from the Pontifical Leonine College, Pope Francis told the young men that if they are not prepared to dedicate themselves to serving the faithful, they should not become priests.

After emphasizing that a priest must be a shepherd, devoted to the care of his flock, the Pope said: "If you are not willing to follow this path..., it is better to have the courage to seek another," the Pope said. He reminded the seminarians: " There are many ways, in the Church, to bear Christian witness."

The Pope told the students at the Leonine College, located in Anagni, Italy, that prayer, study, community life, and the apostolic life are the four pillars of seminary life. Seminarians are “not preparing to become functionaries of a company or of a bureaucratic body,” Pope Francis emphasized, but instead are becoming “shepherds in the image of the Good Shepherd”-- a work that can occur only through the Holy Spirit. James and John wanted to become “prime minister” and “minister of the economy,” but the Lord worked with them and in time they had the right intention.

Pope Francis emphasized the importance of daily meditation on the Gospel, frequent confession, faithful and loving reception of Holy Communion, and intercessory prayer like that of Abraham and Moses.

“In following Jesus' ministry there is no room for mediocrity,” he added, as he recommended that seminarians meditate on St. Augustine's work De Pastoribus and take refuge under the mantle of the Mother of God.

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