To the Seminarians of the North American College
By Pope Paul VI

My dear seminarians from the United States,

We sincerely thank your rector for having invited Us to visit with you here in this beautiful summer residence nestled in the Alban Hills near Our home.

Yours is a magnificent seminary and We are confident that it reflects the quality of the students who call it their home in Rome. You are indeed privileged to be here during these historic days of the Ecumenical Council. In the serene atmosphere of the seminary, you can witness the workings of the Council and strive to enter into its spirit. Your future ministry offers you a challenge now, a challenge to prepare yourselves as well- as you can for the demanding tasks before you. We urge you to prepare yourselves intellectually very well because the community looks to the priest for guidance and leadership more than ever before. Here in the seminary you have order and discipline, a guarantee for your good preparation. We know that. your young spirit rebels, at times, at what seemingly is a brake on your initiative and desire to confront the vast problems of the world. Remember that obedience is most necessary in any well ordered society, and that it is a most basic virtue upon which constructive and effective activity is solidly founded. Without it, chaos would result. This spirit creates continuity and unity of action so necessary if apostolic initiatives are to be brought to their successful conclusion.

In the seminary you must perfect an ascetical life which will give true meaning to your activity. This spiritual life motivates and urges you to give yourselves wholeheartedly to the task of formation and to listen with open mind and heart to the wise counsels and directives which your dedicated professors and counsellors give, so that you will become true and worthy ministers of the Gospel.

These are challenging and changing times. Old methods will have to be transformed but always in the light of past lessons. Sometimes new solutions are proposed but these are not always in keeping with Catholic teachings and principles.

A profound love of the Church and its mission should motivate these precious years of formation as well as your effective years in the apostolate. This will make you loyal sons and faithful ministers in the service of your people.

The seminary years should be happy years. Here there are no undue preoccupations. and you are free to dedicate yourselves to the task of preparation. Christ is your model. Fashion yourselves on Him. In the world, you will represent Him to all. For this you will need a deep interior life upon which you can rely for strength and courage. Youth is generous and gives unselfishly. We are confident that you will give yourselves to your task with heroic effort, and, in so doing, you will find joy and happiness now. Love the Church, love her representatives; give yourselves wholeheartedly to the magnificent task of service. We shall pray that you become true, loyal stewards of the Gospel, and that you will willingly join with those already in the vineyard to bring the lessons of Christ to all men. In pledge of Our prayer, We impart to you and to your brother seminarians in the United States and in every part of the world Our special Apostolic Blessing.


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