Pope Francis ordained nine priests at St. Peter’s Basilica on April 25, urging them to take care of the Church just as Christ did.
He urged the newly ordained priests to continue with the work of Christ.
“You will be shepherds like him. This is what he wants of you Pastors of God’s holy faithful people. Pastors who go with God’s people: sometimes in front of the flock, sometimes in the middle or behind, but always there with God’s people,” the Pope said.
The Holy Father reminded the nine priests of the need to be close to God, other priests, church members and their bishop, describing this as the “four closenesses of the priest.”
He said it is important for priests to always seek God in prayer.
“A priest who does not pray slowly extinguishes the fire of the Spirit within,” he commented.
He called on the ordination candidates to see themselves as “collaborators” with their bishops, ensuring unity in the local Church.
Pope Francis also reminded the ordinands to respect fellow priests.
“I suggest a resolution for you to make on this day: never speak ill of a brother priest. If you have something against another, be a man: go there, and tell him to his face,” he said.
He also encouraged the priests to work closely with parishioners.
“None of you have studied to become a priest. You have studied the ecclesiastical sciences, as the Church says you should. But you have been elected, taken from God’s people,” he told them.
The pope warned the priests of the danger of losing contact with the people saying they were called to serve.
He said: “Remember that this road of the four closenesses is beautiful, this road of being shepherds, because Jesus consoles the shepherds, because He is the Good Shepherd.”
As he concluded his homily, the Holy Father said: “If you are close to the Lord, to the bishop, to each other, and to the people of God, if you have God’s style -- closeness, compassion, and tenderness -- do not be afraid, everything will go well.”
The pope greeted the priests after the mass. He kissed the palm of their hands before turning to greet the congregation.