.- Pope John Paul this morning welcomed authorities and seminarians of Rome’s “Redemptoris Mater” seminary, and described it as “a new and meaningful experience, in view of the formation of priests for the new evangelization.” More than 30 “Redemptoris Mater” seminaries, whose students were formed in the Neocatechumenal Way, have been established worldwide.
The Pope said he thanked God for “the abundant good fruits” and “for the Neocatechumenal Way within which your vocations were born and grew.”
“In the past 16 years a great number of enthusiastic priests have come from your seminary,” he added, noting that they are “priests dedicated in part to the pastoral service in the diocese of Rome and in part to the mission in every corner of the world as ‘fidei donum’ priests.”
“The common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood are in fact ordained one for the other and intimately linked, both participating, each in its own Way, in the one priesthood of Christ. They differ, however, essentially, and not just by degree,” said the Pope.
“By virtue of the Sacrament of Orders priests are configured in a special way to Jesus Christ as Head and Pastor of His people and they must – in the image of Christ – spend and give their entire life in service to this people,” he also said.
The Holy Father told the seminarians that when they are ordained they will belong “to the diocesan priesthood which has the bishop as the main reference point, and at the same time will (live) the deep bond that links you to the Neocatechumenal Way.”
Quoting their Statutes, he said: “Candidates to the priesthood find in participating in the Neocatechumenal Way a specific and fundamental element of the formational path and, at the same time, are prepared for the genuine priestly choice of serving the entire people of God, in the fraternal communion of the priesthood.”