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Vigil on My Knees

Pope Francis' reflections:
Priests: Go out
into world

placeholder May 5, 2014   •   VOL. 52, NO. 9   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
Pope Francis' reflections

Priests: Go out into world
A priest is called to be in the midst of his flock, protecting his people, searching for those who are lost and always serving those in need. "The priest who tries to find his priestly identity by soul-searching and introspection may well encounter nothing more than 'exit' signs, signs that say: Exit from yourself, exit to seek God in adoration, go out and give your people what was entrusted to you." The people of God "will make you feel and taste who you are." They will also be able "to protect you, to embrace you and to help you open your heart to find renewed joy" during those moments a priest finds himself feeling isolated, gloomy, listless and bored, "which at times overcome us in our priestly life and which I too have experienced. …There is no identity — and consequently joy of life — without an active and unwavering sense of belonging to God's faithful people." Like an attentive servant, the priest "makes the church a house with open doors, a refuge for sinners, a home for people living on the street, a place of loving care for the sick, a camp for the young, a classroom for catechizing children."

Pope Francis breathes over chrism oil, a gesture symbolizing the infusion of the Holy Spirit. In his April 17 homily during the chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica he led more than 1,500 priests, bishops and cardinals in a renewal of their priestly vows and a reflection on what it means to be a priest.

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