Spiritual directors help find God's will for us, Pope Benedict teaches

Pope Benedict XVI highlighted today a saint from Turin as a model for priests in light of the recently concluded Year for Priests. The Holy Father said during his catechesis at Wednesday's general audience that St. Joseph Cafasso offers a reminder of the importance of having a "spiritual guide" in life.

The audience took place the day after Rome's feast day, the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, when the Holy Father celebrated Mass at St. Peter's Basilica and bestowed the pallium upon the 38 metropolitan archbishops he named in the past year.

In his catechesis, he recalled the 150th anniversary of the death of St. Joseph Cafasso, a 19th century priest from the northern Italian city of Turin, who was a moral theology professor and a respected spiritual director.

Pope Benedict said of the saint, "His secret was simple: being a man of God, doing, in the small daily activities, 'that which could give the greatest glory to God and in favor of souls."

Among those who looked to him for direction was the young St. John Bosco, also a resident of Turin, of whom the Holy Father noted that the Fr. Cafasso never sought to create in him "a disciple in his image and likeness."

Don Bosco, the Pope recalled, imitated his teacher "in the human and priestly virtues ... but maintained his own attitudes and his own specific vocation, a sign of the wisdom of the spiritual director and of the intelligence of the disciple ..."

"Dear friends," said Pope Benedict, "this is a precious teaching for all those who are committed to the formation and education of the young generations and also a strong call back to how much it is important to have a spiritual guide in our lives, who can help us to understand what it is that God wants from us."

St. Cafasso also made a lasting mark in his ministry to those in jail, said the Pope, explaining that he was known to spend numerous hours hearing inmates' confessions, thus developing a "fruitful" apostolate with prisoners who, through him, re-encountered God's infinite mercy.

For the saint's dedication to prison ministry, he was named the patron of Italian prisons and, years after his death, Pope Pius XII pointed to him as a model for all priests who hear confessions and give spiritual direction.

Pope Benedict urged clergy today to look to him for direction, saying, "May his example encourage all priests in faithful witness to the Gospel."

Fr. Cafasso is just the most recent clergyman from Turin to be mentioned in the Holy Father's catecheses. Earlier this spring, he recognized the Turinese priest saints Fr. Leonard Murialdo, the founder of the Congregation of Saint Joseph and Fr. Joseph Benedict Cottolengo, founder of the Little House of Divine Providence, which was visited by Pope Benedict during his trip to Turin in May.

Benedict XVI went on to recognize the metropolitan archbishops present in the square during the individual language greetings. He greeted each English-speaking prelate by name, including the three Americans that received the pallium on Tuesday.

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