.- Earlier today, Pope Bendict XVI met with seminary students from Romeâs Almo Collegio Capranicaâ whom he charged with faithfulness to the teaching authority of the Church, commitment to their own personal sanctity and a willingness to reach out to the poor and suffering.
The students, who were accompanied by their rector, are preparing to celebrate the feast of the schoolâs patron, St. Agnes.
The Holy Father today received the rector and students of the diocesan seminary of Rome, the Almo Collegio Capranica, on the eve of the feast day of their patroness, St Agnes. The Almo Collegio forms students to the priesthood for Rome, other Italian dioceses and the rest of the world.
The Holy Father charged the seminarians, particularly during their formation, to take advantage "of every opportunity to bear effective witness to the Gospel among the men and women of our time."
He explained that "In order to respond to the expectations of modern society, and to cooperate in the immense evangelical activity that involves all Christians, there is need for well-trained and courageous priests who, without ambition or fear but convinced of gospel truth, make the announcement of Christ their first concernâ¦â
The Pope also challenged them to be âready to reach out to human suffering, bringing the comfort of God's love and the warmth of the ecclesial family to everyone, especially the poor and those undergoing difficulties."
The Holy Father added that "together with human maturity and close adherence to revealed truth, which the Magisterium of the Church faithfully reflects, [this requires] a serious commitment to personal sanctity and the exercise of virtue, especially humility and charity.â
âIt is also necessaryâ, he said, âto nurture communion with the various elements of the People of God, so that everyone may have a growing awareness of belonging to the one Body of Christ."
In order to fulfill this call, the Pope invited the seminarians to keep their âgaze fixed on Christ.â
âThe more you remain in communion with Him,â he said, âthe more able you will be faithfully to follow His footsteps so that, 'love which binds every thing together in perfect harmony,' brings your love for the Lord to maturity under the guidance of the Holy Spirit."
Pope Benedict concluded his address asking the group to follow the example of committed priests, and former seminarians of the Almo Collegio, who, he said, "have produced abundant fruits of knowledge and goodness in the Lord's vineyard."
The Almo Collegio trains seminarians for the priesthood in the Diocese of Rome, other dioceseâ in Italy, as well as various Sees throughout the world.