Pope tells priests: Be icons of Christ, wipe tears like Veronica

April 5, 2024 at 2:38 p.m.
Pope Francis meets with priests doing graduate studies in Rome and with the staffs of the pontifical Mexican, Brazilian and Latin American colleges of Rome in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican April 4, 2024. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
Pope Francis meets with priests doing graduate studies in Rome and with the staffs of the pontifical Mexican, Brazilian and Latin American colleges of Rome in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican April 4, 2024. (CNS photo/Vatican Media) (Vatican Media)

By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY CNS – Priests are called to be "a true icon of Jesus," drawing closer to God the Father by devoting their lives to the care of all God's children, Pope Francis wrote.

The Pope met April 4 at the Vatican with Latin American priests doing graduate studies in Rome and living at the Mexican, Brazilian and Latin American colleges in the city. He handed them copies of his prepared text but did not read it.

Referring to the sixth station of the cross, Pope Francis wrote that priests must "become the 'Veronica' of every face, of every tear. How? By wiping them away with my priestly vestments."

The first way a priest does that, he said, is "by prayer, presenting each concrete situation to the presence of God: 'Lord, the one you love is suffering.'"

Pope Francis' brief text was focused on what he called "a central theme in the life of priests: Love."

As he often does with priests and members of religious orders, he encouraged the group to remember "the first love," God's love for them and God's call to them to dedicate their lives in service to him and to others.

"Like every person," he wrote, "God has called us to be his children and, among them, he has entrusted us with a special task that brings us closer to him: to give ourselves for others. They are our raison d'être, the object of our love because in them we carry out this service that the Lord asks of us."

A priest must see every man, woman and child "as a member of that mystical Body whose head is Christ," he wrote.

The "oblative, eucharistic offering" priests are called to make is an offering of their whole lives, the Pope said.

Pope Francis said Jesus asks priests what he asked James and John: "Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?"

The question, he wrote, is not about some "theoretical readiness for martyrdom but a radical acceptance that we are here to do his will and renounce our own."

The third point Pope Francis raised in his text was about "humility," and especially the need for priests to recognize how much they need the prayers of others, including the prayers of those they think they are called to help.

"Trust in the prayers of all the members of the faithful People of God," he wrote, "and do not forget to pray for your pastors, and for me."

The Pope ended with a prayer: "May Jesus bless you and may Our Lady of Guadalupe, empress of America, watch over you."

The Church needs quality Catholic journalism now more than ever. Please consider supporting this work by signing up for a SUBSCRIPTION (click HERE) or making a DONATION to The Monitor (click HERE). Thank you for your support.


Related Stories

VATICAN CITY CNS – Priests are called to be "a true icon of Jesus," drawing closer to God the Father by devoting their lives to the care of all God's children, Pope Francis wrote.

The Pope met April 4 at the Vatican with Latin American priests doing graduate studies in Rome and living at the Mexican, Brazilian and Latin American colleges in the city. He handed them copies of his prepared text but did not read it.

Referring to the sixth station of the cross, Pope Francis wrote that priests must "become the 'Veronica' of every face, of every tear. How? By wiping them away with my priestly vestments."

The first way a priest does that, he said, is "by prayer, presenting each concrete situation to the presence of God: 'Lord, the one you love is suffering.'"

Pope Francis' brief text was focused on what he called "a central theme in the life of priests: Love."

As he often does with priests and members of religious orders, he encouraged the group to remember "the first love," God's love for them and God's call to them to dedicate their lives in service to him and to others.

"Like every person," he wrote, "God has called us to be his children and, among them, he has entrusted us with a special task that brings us closer to him: to give ourselves for others. They are our raison d'être, the object of our love because in them we carry out this service that the Lord asks of us."

A priest must see every man, woman and child "as a member of that mystical Body whose head is Christ," he wrote.

The "oblative, eucharistic offering" priests are called to make is an offering of their whole lives, the Pope said.

Pope Francis said Jesus asks priests what he asked James and John: "Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?"

The question, he wrote, is not about some "theoretical readiness for martyrdom but a radical acceptance that we are here to do his will and renounce our own."

The third point Pope Francis raised in his text was about "humility," and especially the need for priests to recognize how much they need the prayers of others, including the prayers of those they think they are called to help.

"Trust in the prayers of all the members of the faithful People of God," he wrote, "and do not forget to pray for your pastors, and for me."

The Pope ended with a prayer: "May Jesus bless you and may Our Lady of Guadalupe, empress of America, watch over you."

The Church needs quality Catholic journalism now more than ever. Please consider supporting this work by signing up for a SUBSCRIPTION (click HERE) or making a DONATION to The Monitor (click HERE). Thank you for your support.

Have a news tip? Email [email protected] or Call/Text 360-922-3092

e-Edition


e-edition

Sign up


for our email newsletters

Weekly Top Stories

Sign up to get our top stories delivered to your inbox every Sunday

Daily Updates & Breaking News Alerts

Sign up to get our daily updates and breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox daily

Latest Stories


En su tercer día, el Congreso Eucarístico invita a los católicos a encontrar sanación en la Eucaristía, compartirlo con los demás
"Dulce unción, amor purificador, sanador misericordioso, amor eterno".

Congress's Day 3 invites Catholics to find God's healing in the Eucharist, share it with others
Tony Meléndez sang to his guitar, telling the audience gathered at Lucas Oil Stadium July 19...

In the midst of Olympic craze in Paris, Notre Dame guide's advice is: Watch the beauty of the cathedral
Even if the spotlight is now on sports stadiums ahead...

Eucharistic Congress underway in Indianapolis
The Congress has seen participants engaging in various Eucharistic-centered activities...

National congress's second night of Eucharistic revival: 'Only love can make a saint'
On the second night of the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis July 18, close to 50,000 Catholics....


The Evangelist, 40 North Main Ave., Albany, NY, 12203-1422 | PHONE: 518-453-6688| FAX: 518-453-8448
© 2024 Trenton Monitor, All Rights Reserved.