18 February 2008

Pope speaks to parents of seminarians

The Holy Father visited the Roman Major Seminary Friday, 1 February 2008. In his homily at Vespers, Pope Benedict XVI addressed the parents of the seminarians, showing his usual pastoral sensitivity and genuine concern:

Dear parents, you are probably the most surprised of all at what is
happening in your sons. You probably imagined a different career for them than
the mission for which they are now preparing. Who knows how often you find
yourselves thinking about them: you think back to when they were children, then
boys; to the times when they showed the first signs of their vocation or, in
some cases on the contrary, to the years in which your son's life seemed remote
from the Church. What happened? What meetings influenced their decisions? What
inner enlightenment guided their footsteps? How could they then give up even
promising prospects of life in order to choose to enter the Seminary? Let us
look to Mary! The Gospel gives us to understand that she also asked herself many
questions about her Son Jesus and pondered on him at length (cf. Lk 2: 19,

It is inevitable that in a certain manner, the vocations of children
become the vocations of their parents too. In seeking to understand your
children and following them on their way, you too, dear fathers and dear
mothers, very often find yourselves involved in a journey in which your faith is
strengthened and renewed. You find yourselves sharing in the marvellous
adventure of your sons. Indeed, even though it may seem that the priest's life
does not attract most people's interest, it is in fact the most interesting and
necessary adventure for the world, the adventure of showing, of making present,
the fullness of life to which we all aspire. It is a very demanding adventure;
and it could not be otherwise since the priest is called to imitate Jesus, who
"came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many"
(Mt 20: 28).

These are beautiful and true words and ought to be given to the parents of every seminarian, and even to the parents of men and women in formation for the consecrated life. Pass them on!

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