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On Good Shepherd Day, Pope tells priests to be pastors, not officials

22 April, 2013 - Pope Francis ordained 10 new priests Sunday morning, reminding them that they should carry out their ministry with “constant joy and genuine love.” "By word and example build up the house of God, which is the Church," the Pope told the newly ordained at a solemn Mass in Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica, marking Good Shepherd Sunday. The Catholic Church marks the World Day of Prayer for Vocations on Good Shepherd Sunday, an annual event established by Pope Paul VI in 1963. In his homily at Mass, Pope Francis asked the new priests to witness and be faithful to the mission entrusted them: "remember then that you are taken from among men and appointed on their behalf for those things that pertain to God. Therefore, carry out the ministry of Christ the Priest with constant joy and genuine love, attending not to your own concerns but to those of Jesus Christ. You are pastors, not functionaries. Be mediators, not intermediaries!" In his commentary on the Gospel of the Good Shepherd, the Pope likened God’s call to the voice of the mother or father that an unborn baby hears in the womb. “From our mother's womb we learn to recognize her voice and that of our father, from the tone of a voice we perceive love or disdain, affection or coldness. The voice of Jesus is unique! If we learn to distinguish it, He guides us on the path of life, a path that goes beyond the abyss of death," the Pope explained.
The men who were ordained came from Rome’s Major Seminary, the diocesan college Redemptoris Mater and the seminary of the Oblates of Divine Love, with two candidates of Indian origin. The 50th World Day of Prayer for Vocations this year had as its theme, "Vocations as a sign of hope founded in Faith".
Just after ordaining the 10 men to the priesthood, Pope Francis addressed a vast crowd in St. Peter’s Square during his weekly midday ‘Regina Coeli’ prayer. Speaking to them from his studio window overlooking the square, the Pope urged young Catholics to be brave in responding to what Jesus wants from them. “There are many young people today, here in the square. Let me ask this: have you sometimes heard the voice of the Lord through a desire, restlessness, inviting you to follow him more closely? Have you had any desire to be apostles of Jesus?” Pope Francis asked. Urging the youth to strive for high ideals, he said, “Ask Jesus what he wants from you and be brave!” The Holy Father also encouraged people to pray for those who are discerning their vocation. “Behind and before every vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life,” he said, “there is always strong and intense prayer from someone: a grandmother, a grandfather, a mother, a father, a community ... .” That's why Jesus said, "Pray the Lord of the harvest - that is, God the Father - to send out labourers into his harvest." Vocations are born in prayer and from prayer, and only in prayer can they persevere and bear fruit,” the Pope stressed. He also urged for prayers also for the 10 new priest he ordained Sunday morning.
After reciting the “Regina Coeli” prayer, Pope Francis drew attention to an earthquake that hit China’s Sichuan province on Saturday, inviting prayers for those suffering. He also expressed concern over uneasy developments in Venezuela, urging the country’s people to pray and work for reconciliation and peace. He urged all to join them in praying that just and peaceful ways be found out of the serious difficulties of the nation. He particularly urged authorities and politicians to firmly reject every violence and establish a dialogue based on truth and mutual acceptance, seeking the common good and love for the country.