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Pope Francis: to community of Flaminio Seminary, “against de-Christianisation, priests with robust, rock-like faith”

“You are called to be evangelisers in your Region, which is also marked by de-Christianisation. Those who are most exposed to the cold wind of uncertainty or religious indifference need to find in the person of the priest that robust faith which is like a torch in the night, and like a rock to cling to”. Pope Francis said this in his address to the community of the Pontifical Benedict XV Flaminio Regional Seminary of Bologna, whose members were received in audience this morning on the occasion of the centenary of the institution. The Pontiff indicated three aspects characterising the Seminary as “a place and above all a time in which to train and prepare for the priesthood”. Pope Francis called it a “house of prayer, a house of study, a house of communion”. “The Seminary is, first of all, a house of prayer where the Lord still calls ‘His’ people to ‘a secluded place’ to live a strong experience of meeting and listening”, the Pope said, deeming it “necessary to show adequate commitment to spiritual formation” and to a “meeting with Jesus in the face and flesh of the poor”. He then insisted on the importance of studying “as part of an educational journey aimed at developing a living faith, called to become the faith of the shepherd”. According to Pope Francis, it is a “privileged instrument of wisdom and scientific knowledge”. “Sharing the lessons and the study with fellow seminarians is also a way of becoming part of a presbytery”, he pointed out. Finally, the Seminary is a “house of communion”, because “a priest’s pastoral charity cannot be credible if it is not preceded and accompanied by fraternity, first among seminarians and then among priests”.

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