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Monday, June 16, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 15 JUN 2008 (VIS) - Today at 4.45 p.m., the Pope met with priests, deacons and seminarians in Brindisi's cathedral of St. Lawrence.

  The Holy Father told priests in particular that in order to ensure "your faith is always strong and vigorous, it is important, as you well know, to nourish it with assiduous prayer. Be, then, models of prayer, become masters of prayer", he told them.

  "The moment of prayer is the most important moment in a priest's life, the moment in which divine grace acts most effectively, making his ministry fruitful. Prayer is the first service to be offered to the community".

  The Pope expressed his joy at the inauguration of the new archiepiscopal seminary - which will be called Benedict XVI - and explained that "the careful preparation of seminarians and the permanent formation of priests and of other pastoral care workers are priority concerns for the bishop to whom, as a wise pastor, God has entrusted the mission of guiding the people of God living in this city.

  "Another opportunity of spiritual growth for your community", the Holy Father added, "is the diocesan synod, the first since Vatican Council II and since the unification of the two dioceses of Brindisi and Ostuni. This is a chance to relaunch the apostolic commitment of the entire archdiocese, but it is above all a special moment of communion which helps you to rediscover the value of fraternal service".

  The Holy Father indicated that the synod, which is currently being held, has the task of "helping your local Church, in all its elements, to rediscover the meaning and the joy of service: a service for love. This holds true, above all, for you, dear priests, moulded after Christ 'Head and Pastor' and always ready to guide His flock. Recognise the gift you have received, and be joyful for it! Be generous in performing your mission! Base it on assiduous prayer and on permanent cultural, theological and spiritual formation!"

  At the end of his address, Benedict XVI invited the whole archdiocese to prepare for the Pauline Year, which is due to begin on 28 June. "It could be an occasion for a generous relaunch of missionary activity, for a more profound announcement of the Word of God, welcomed, meditated upon, and translated into a fruitful apostolate, as happened with the Apostle of the Gentiles", he said.

  Immediately after the meeting, the Pope travelled to the airport of Brindisi-Casale where he boarded a plane for Rome. An hour later he landed at Ciampino airport and from there travelled to the Vatican by car.

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