.- Speaking this morning to candidates for the diplomatic service of the Holy See, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged devotion to the Eucharist and the Virgin Mary.
Archbishop Justo Mullor Garcia, president of Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, which trains candidates for the Holy See diplomatic service brought students from 20 countries on four continents for an audience with the Holy Father.
Benedict told the group of priests that in order to prepare themselves for their future mission, "you are called, above all, to be a community of prayer in which the relationship with God is constant, faithful and intense. ... May the Eucharist you celebrate every day be the vital center, the source and the root of all your activities over these years and in the future, when you will perform your priestly ministry at the service of the Holy See in various countries of the world. “
“Only if you remain faithful to your vocation (to the priesthood),” the Pope continued, “will you be able to offer a valid service to the Apostolic See."
"Your academy," he went on, "wishes to continue to be a true school of human and theological formation. ... Today, there is more need that ever for a solid culture that includes, alongside the necessary theological formation, a deeper study of the perennial doctrine of the Church and of the guiding principles of the Holy See's activities at the ecclesial and international level."
After recalling the academy's three centuries of history, Benedict XVI highlighted how the fact that all those present reside in Rome but come from many different continents "represents a precious opportunity to nourish the spirit of unity and communion. ... Open, then, the horizon of your minds and hearts to the universality of the Church, so as to overcome any temptation to particularism and individualism."
The Pope concluded his address by calling on the future apostolic nuncios to ensure their formation "is not lacking in genuine devotion to the Virgin Mary. May she help you to grow in love for Christ and for the Church, and to tend ever more towards sanctity, the supreme ... aspiration of your Christian and priestly lives."