.- The bishops of Argentina have issued a letter to mark the beginning of the Year of the Priesthood to encourage priests to live their vocation with true radical love. The Year of Priesthood, convened by Pope Benedict XVI, will begin on June 19, 2009.
“The profound crisis we are experiencing gives rise to moral questioning. The incoherencies into which we fall cause us pain and hurt,” the bishops said, pondering the state of the priesthood.
After noting the lack of vocations, they said they felt “especially close to those who are passing through trials or who in their ministries are in situations that are particularly demanding.”
“The priesthood is a Mystery of Love received and given, made new each day in the Eucharistic celebration and in the generous gift of one’s life ‘to the end’ (John 13:1). It is beautiful to live it radically, with completely true love. For this reason, the Church has from the beginning seen a multiple harmony between the priesthood and celibacy, and she calls to the presbyterial ministry those who have freely received and accepted to live this fruitful charism of complete surrender.”
“Taken on by Christ the Head and Spouse, priests are called to be fruitful signs of the love of Christ for his Church, pastors and fathers of the community. This truth can only be understood and lived in the light of the faith, animated by the fervor for charity in the glorious hope of the fullness of heaven,” the bishops said.
Likewise, they added, “the prayerful reading and preaching of the Word of God, the joyful celebration of the Eucharist and all liturgy, the faithful, patient and generous service to the faithful, especially to the poor and the infirm, is the indispensable path to forging in us more each day the sentiments and image of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.”