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Monday, 9 April 1973


Beloved sons in Jesus Christ,

Once again it is our happiness to be with a group of newly-ordained priests from the Pontifical Beda College. We welcome you with all our heart.

Because of our deep affection for you in the Lord, we wish to say a word to you about your new office in the Church. Yours is the great responsibility, within the body of the priesthood, to build up the Christian people through the Eucharist, and to bring them the fullness of God’s Word. It is up to you to transmit to this generation the lifegiving, liberating and uplifting revelation of Jesus Christ. This and this alone is the secure foundation on which your fellowmen can base their lives. You are called upon to speak this message of God’s love and to exemplify this love yourselves in the total giving of your lives, offered in union with the Sacrifice of the Mass. You are moreover to preach, in season and out of season, the exigencies of Christian conduct for a pilgrim people; and your words must be marked by the simplicity of the Gospels, the candour of the Apostles and the charity of Christ.

Yours is a ministry of reconciliation between God and man, and between brothers. You are committed with all your being to the cause of divine forgiveness, Christian unity and human solidarity, because you share sacramentally in the mediation of the great High Priest. His mission is your mission; the priesthood with which you are invested is his priesthood. Your life is a sharing in his, and it makes no sense at all apart from him.

We ask you then, dear sons, to realize more and more the nature of your ministry and everything that it involves for God’s glory and the benefit of man. We ask you to be mindful that the destinies of many persons are linked with your own priestly vocation, your fidelity to it and the mature exercise of the responsibility to which the Lord has called you. Your brethren, Christ’s brethren, depend on you. Christ wanted it this way.

And our prayer for you is "that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment" (Phil. 1, 9), and that your joy may be full: ut gaudium vestrum sit plenum (Io. 16, 24). May the grace of the Lord sustain you in moments of difficulty and temptation, and may our Blessed Mother be close to each of you.

At the same time we also wish to greet your beloved parents, your relatives and friends and all those who - in a degree and manner known only to the Lord - have helped you to become priests of Jesus Christ. In his Name we impart to each of you our Apostolic Blessing.


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