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Saturday, 5 February 2005


Dear Friends,

1. I join you with great joy on the day of the Feast of Our Lady of Trust, Patroness of the Roman Major Seminary. I greet the Cardinal Vicar, the Auxiliary Bishops, the Rector, your other Superiors and, with special affection, you yourselves and your relatives, dear Seminarians. I greet the diocesan Choir and Orchestra conducted by Mons. Marco Frisina, as well as my young friends at the Roman Seminary. You are a cause of comfort to me because you are a privileged sign of the Lord's love for his beloved Church which is in Rome.

2. "To contemplate the face of Christ, and to contemplate it with Mary, is the "programme' which I set before the Church at the dawn of the third millennium, inviting her to put out into the deep on the sea of history with the enthusiasm of the new evangelization" (Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n. 6). You have chosen to make these words of mine a topic of reflection for your feast day.

Mane nobiscum Domine! Mons. Marco Frisina's oratorio has filled the Paul VI Auditorium with this invocation, intense and ever timely for Christians, especially in times of suffering and trial. Celebrating Mary in the Year of the Eucharist for you means focusing attention on the sacrifice of her divine Son, who becomes sacramentally present at every Holy Mass.

3. Dear Seminarians, how meaningful Jesus' gesture is in the icon of Our Lady of Trust that you venerate at your Seminary! Pointing to his Mother, the Child seems to anticipate silently what, at the end of his life, he was to say to his disciple John from the Cross:  "Behold, your mother!" (Jn 19: 27). I would like to repeat to you today:  here is your Mother, to love and to imitate with full trust, so that you may become priests who can speak the crucial words of faith, not only once but always:  "Here I am", "Fiat".

"Mater mea, fiducia mea"! May this short prayer sum up in depth and simplicity your days, spent contemplating Christ with Mary.

4. I would like to extend this wish to all the young people present, especially to the young men in the process of vocational discernment with a view to entering the Seminary, and to all who are following with interest the vocations programmes that the Diocese of Rome offers to children, adolescents and young people. I am thinking in particular of the little altar servers and the parish youth groups.

Dear young people, the Lord passes by and calls (cf. Mt 4: 18-22); be ready to cooperate with him.

I entrust you to Our Lady of Trust. And pray to the Lord of the harvest that workers for his harvest will not be lacking (cf. Mt 9: 38).

I bless you all with deep affection.


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