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Thursday, April 1, 2004


VATICAN CITY, APR 1, 2004 (VIS) - This morning John Paul II received the rector, superiors and students from the Pontifical Pio Brasiliero College in Rome on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of its founding.

  The Pope said that the college, founded at the request of Pope Pius XI and the Brazilian episcopate, especially Cardinal Sebastiao Leme, "provides a positive environment for more profound academic and spiritual formation which is so necessary in your priestly mission. Living in Rome for some years offers many possibilities to come into contact with the history of the first centuries of Christianity, to open yourselves up to the universal dimension of the Church, to encourage ecclesial communion and a good disposition to accept the teachings of the Church."

  Referring to the importance of formation, the Holy Father emphasized that "it is a responsibility that your instructors have, not only in the universities that you attend but also especially for the religious of the Society of Jesus who are responsible for the direction of this college. May God want the spiritual foundation of St. Ignatius to spur you on continually since the Brazilian episcopate and all of God's people want holy and learned priests, true pastors of souls. This responsibility is even greater if we consider that some priests come from other Latin American countries and from Africa, Oceania and Europe."

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