In his address at Kinshasa’s Cathedral of Our Lady of the Congo on February 2, Pope Francis told the priests, deacons, consecrated persons, and seminarians, “You are precious and important,” and added, “We need you.”
Pope Francis, during the audience with the priests, deacons, consecrated persons, and seminarians on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the world day of consecrated life, encouraged them to put Christ at the center of their lives and to be joyful witnesses of the Gospel.
“When we place Jesus at the center of our lives, our outlook changes, and despite all our efforts and difficulties, we feel enveloped by His light, comforted by His Spirit, encouraged by His Word, and sustained by His love,” the Pope said.
The Pope encouraged clergy and religious to anoint God's people "with the balm of consolation and hope" to show God's compassion.
He exhorted them, “always be channels of the Lord's consoling presence, joyous witnesses of the Gospel, prophets of peace amid the storms of violence, disciples of love, ever ready to care for the wounds of the poor and suffering,”
Despite “enormous challenges,” religious vocations bring “great joy in the service of the Gospel,” the Pope asserted.
He reminded them that religious service will face the challenges and difficulties of spiritual mediocrity, worldly comfort, and superficiality which can be overcome through prayer privately or publicly, through selflessness, and being "educated, well-trained, and passionate" Gospel witnesses.
“To be good priests, deacons and consecrated persons, words and intentions are not enough: your lives must speak louder than your words,” Pope Francis stated.
The Pope highlighted that the ministry of clergy and religious of Jesus is “to offer closeness and consolation, like a light that keeps shining amid the encircling gloom.” - With inputs from Vatican News
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