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Monday, May 3, 2004


VATICAN CITY, MAY 2, 2004 (VIS) - At 9 a.m. today, the fourth Sunday of Easter, the Pope celebrated Mass in the Vatican Basilica and conferred priestly ordination upon 26 deacons of the diocese of Rome.

  The Holy Father said that the liturgy "invites us to set our gaze upon Christ, the Good Shepherd. ... The only Son of the Father, the Good Shepherd of humanity, who died on the Cross and rose on the third day. This is the Good News that the apostles brought to all peoples, starting in Jerusalem, animated by the power of the Holy Spirit."

  When addressing the new priests, John Paul II thanked "the families, the priests who took care of formation and the growth of your faith and everyone, along with your parish communities and the ecclesial realities to which you belong, who has helped you to discover the 'gift and mystery' of your vocation, and to say yes to the Lord's call."

  "I ordain you priests," he continued, "at a time in which, also here in Rome, strong cultural tendencies seem to want to make people, especially young people and families, forget God. But do not be afraid: God will always be with you! With His help you will be able to take up the paths that lead to the heart of every man and to announce to him that the Good Shepherd gave His life for him and that He wants him to participate in His mystery of love and salvation. In order to carry out this task Jesus must be the center of your life and you must be in intimate union with Him in prayer, daily personal meditation, faithfulness to the Liturgy of the Hours and above all in daily celebration of the Eucharist. If you are filled with God, you will be true apostles of the new evangelization because no one gives what his heart does not contain."
HML/PRIESTLY ORDINATION/...           VIS 20040503 (330)

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