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Monday, 20 March 1972


It is a great pleasure for us to receive this morning the newly ordained priests of the Pontifical College of Propaganda Fide and of the Pontifical Beda College. To all of you we extend our most sincere congratulations.

What we wish to say to you today is this: never doubt your priesthood. This we say for several reasons.

By your ordination you have been endowed with the sacramental mystery which has conferred upon you powers that liken you to Christ: the power to celebrate the Holy Eucharist, to administer the sacrament of Penance, and so on. Through the priestly ministry that is now yours you are likened to the Apostles, you have been made ministers of the Gospel. To you are now applied in a special way the words that Christ spoke to his disciples: “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you” (Io. 20, 21). Those words are addressed personally to each one of you.

Never doubt your priesthood. Your task is now to serve the Church and the world with all your strength. What a noble task, and how varied are the forms that it will take! How lofty too are the obligations that you have undertaken, that of holiness, of charity to all men, of sacrifice. It is the Cross that you have willingly accepted, the Cross which will give your lives a serious character, but which will make them strong.

Whatever difficulties and trials you may encounter, you are assured of never-failing help and support: the assistance of God’s grace, the communion of the Church, the esteem-and the good example-of the People of God.

Therefore we repeat: never doubt your priesthood. Go forward with confidence. The Lord be with you, and may the Mother of God ever assist you.

We wish also to extend a special greeting to the parents, relatives and friends of the new priests. We pray that God will reward you for the sacrifices you have made on their behalf, and for the support and encouragement you have given them during their years of training. Many of you have come a long distance to be present, and we are sure that the memory of these happy days will never fade. We greet also the staff of the two Colleges, and we thank them for all that they have done to prepare the new priests for their mission. And finally a greeting to the students, especially to those who will soon in their turn receive the great gift of the priesthood. Be sure that we shall remember you in our prayers.

To you all we cordially impart our special Apostolic Blessing.


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