On Sunday evening Pope Benedict wrapped up his weekend visit to the Archdiocese of Brindisi-Ostuni by speaking to a gathering of all the priests, deacons and seminarians of the archdiocese. Being a good priest, the Pope said, requires that one become a “master of prayer.”
As he spoke to the clergy in Brindisi’s St. Lawrence Cathedral, the Holy Father told them that, to ensure "your faith is always strong and vigorous, it is important, as you well know, to nourish it with assiduous prayer. Be, then, models of prayer, become masters of prayer."
Benedict XVI then reflected on how the entirety a priest’s ministry flows from his prayer.
"The moment of prayer is the most important moment in a priest's life, the moment in which divine grace acts most effectively, making his ministry fruitful. Prayer is the first service to be offered to the community," he said.
"Another opportunity of spiritual growth for your community", the Holy Father pointed out, "is the diocesan synod, the first since Vatican Council II and since the unification of the two dioceses of Brindisi and Ostuni. This is a chance to relaunch the apostolic commitment of the entire archdiocese, but it is above all a special moment of communion which helps you to rediscover the value of fraternal service."
The ongoing synod has the task of "helping your local Church, in all its elements, to rediscover the meaning and the joy of service: a service for love. This holds true, above all, for you, dear priests, molded after Christ 'Head and Pastor' and always ready to guide His flock. Recognize the gift you have received, and be joyful for it! Be generous in performing your mission! Base it on assiduous prayer and on permanent cultural, theological and spiritual formation!" the Pope exhorted.
Looking ahead to the Pauline Year, which Benedict XVI will inaugurate on June 28, the Pope called on the archdiocese to look at it as “an occasion for a generous relaunch of missionary activity, for a more profound announcement of the Word of God, welcomed, meditated upon, and translated into a fruitful apostolate, as happened with the Apostle of the Gentiles."