Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani of Lima, Peru said the Year of Faith decreed by Pope Benedict XVI should be a time of conversion for priests, so that others “may see the presence of God in us.”
“We priests and religious work with greater enthusiasm. Jesus awaits us, and the first guideline that I give you is that you live with more faith,” he told the priests of his archdiocese Sept. 19 during a monthly retreat.
Th cardinal added that during the Year of Faith – which begins on Oct. 11, the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II – priests should express this interior conversion in the way they “celebrate the Mass, preach and prepare their homilies.”
“I encourage you to spend more time in the confessional. Always have time, never say I can’t.”
Cardinal Cipriani also asked priests to be united with their bishops, so they can be their main collaborators in motivating the faithful and encouraging them to take part in the Church’s mission.
Priests should express their faith with works, especially in the celebration of the Mass. “If you don’t have works, you are dry,” he told them.
“When a priest does what he is supposed to, people notice. And people notice in the Mass, in the confessional, in the schools he is in charge of, and they notice because Christ lives in him, and his thoughts are those of Christ,” the cardinal said.
“May Christ enlighten our senses, and for this reason let us pray the Rosary. Thus the joy of the Eucharist will convert our hearts,” he said.
Cardinal Cipriani noted that Pope Benedict XVI has decreed the Year of Faith so that “the faith may more clearly illuminate our encounter with Christ” in a world that has become “relativistic” and “has forgotten about God.”
“Nobody should give in to the temptation to say this is 'just another year,'” the cardinal said.
He called on priests to “encourage collaboration from good volunteers. May there be a greater commitment to the formation of the laity in parishes, schools, campus ministries and ecclesial movements.”