During a conference this week in Rome, Cardinal Camillo Ruini and secretary general of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, Msgr. Mariano Crociata emphasized that priests must lead the faithful in confidently and courageously announcing the Gospel message.
The conference was held Jan. 11-13 for clergy and the lay faithful who work with the Unitalsi association, an Italian organization that organizes pilgrimages to holy sites around the world. The cardinal and Msgr. Crociata met with conference participants to prepare them for another year of pilgrimages.
Cardinal Ruini affirmed in his address that “religion’s sun has not set, but now, it is possibly more important than in the past.” The prelate emphasized the role of the priest in leading the charge, saying that his mission is that of announcing the Word of God seriously and confidently, without letting himself be taken down by pessimism.
In order to fulfill their mission with enthusiasm and conviction, continued the cardinal, “priests today must be men of prayer and also be very prepared on the theological and cultural plane.”
Msgr. Crociata built on the same theme, proposing that priests must hold to three principal requirements, the first being that of “guiding the faithful to a personal encounter with Christ, and more specifically to a capacity for a personal and autonomous faith, in profound communion with Him.”
The second, he continued, consists in having the courage and conviction to be a true believer in the Church. Finally, “there is no mediocre and relaxed way to approach the conquest of Christ; conquest means effort, tension, hard work and obstinate dedication, self-sacrifice.”
Msgr. Crociata concluded by saying that none of this is possible without an impassioned faith.