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At Holy Thursday Chrism Mass, Pope Francis preaches on the joy of the priesthood

April 17, 2014

Pope Francis reflected on priestly joy during his homily at the Mass of Chrism on Holy Thursday morning.

During the Chrism Mass-- typically celebrated on Holy Thursday morning, sometimes celebrated on another day-- a bishop concelebrates Mass with his priests, blesses the oil of the sick and the oil of the catechumens, and consecrates chrism.

“The Lord anointed us in Christ with the oil of gladness, and this anointing invites us to accept and appreciate this great gift: the gladness, the joy of being a priest,” he preached to those present at St. Peter’s Basilica. “Priestly joy is a priceless treasure, not only for the priest himself but for the entire faithful people of God: that faithful people from which he is called to be anointed and which he, in turn, is sent to anoint.”

“For me, there are three significant features of our priestly joy,” the Pope said. “It is a joy which anoints us (not one which ‘greases’ us, making us unctuous, sumptuous and presumptuous), it is a joy which is imperishable and it is a missionary joy which spreads and attracts, starting backwards-- with those farthest away from us.”

Priestly joy, Pope Francis continued, is “guarded by three sisters who surround it, tend it, and defend it: sister poverty, sister fidelity, and sister obedience.”

He added:

All who are called should know that genuine and complete joy does exist in this world: it is the joy of being taken from the people we love and then being sent back to them as dispensers of the gifts and counsels of Jesus, the one Good Shepherd who, with deep compassion for all the little ones and the outcasts of this earth, wearied and oppressed like sheep without a shepherd, wants to associate many others to his ministry, so as himself to remain with us and to work, in the person of his priests, for the good of his people.

On this Holy Thursday, I ask the Lord Jesus to enable many young people to discover that burning zeal which joy kindles in our hearts as soon as we have the stroke of boldness needed to respond willingly to his call.


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  • Posted by: John J Plick - Apr. 17, 2014 6:07 PM ET USA

    I believe that "this" is the secret...When the novice "dying" to everything else, resigns himself to the radical poverty that St. Francis prescribed, that many men, including Franciscans, say "can't be done...!" becomes a priest, SOLELY devoted to God's will, he them can, by virtue of the graces of his ordination and other charismatic graces infused, say and do supernatural things that will convert souls and renew the Church. JP