Pope John Paul II addressed via satellite from the Vatican this morning over a thousand priests from eighty countries gathered on the island of Malta to discuss the theme "Priests, forgers of saints for the new millennium: Following the footsteps of the Apostle Paul," and told them that they were called to be apostles of the Word and prophets of hope, inspired by the model of Mary.
The congress, organized by the Congregation for the Clergy began on October 18 and ends on October 23.
Pointing out that Malta is "an island that preserves the vivid memory of the passage of St. Paul," the Holy Father said that Christ was inviting the priests "to be His apostles, especially with holiness of life.”
“You must make the power of the word of truth of the Gospel resound, the word which can only profoundly change man's heart and give him peace,” said the Pope, “in this way, you will be credible teachers of the life of the Gospel and prophets of hope."
"In a troubled and divided world, marked by violence and conflicts, there are those who ask themselves if it is still possible to talk of hope,” said the Pope. “But precisely in this moment it is necessary to courageously present the true and complete hope of man which is Christ Our Lord."
The Holy Father pointed to Our Lady who "showed her complete availability to do God's will" in responding with her "fiat" to the message of the Archangel Gabriel, as a model to inspire priests. Before his death on the Cross, Jesus entrusted His mother to John: "From that day Mary became the mother of all creatures, especially your mother, to accompany you on your daily path. Go to her constantly in your ministry."