The 60th anniversary of the priestly ordination of Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder and superior general of the Legionaries of Christ, was celebrated this morning by 4000 priests and seminarians of the order, and members of the “Regnum Christi” movement, who were received by Pope John Paul II in the Vatican.

This "happy circumstance," said the Pope, "invites us to recall the gifts that he has received from the Lord in these 60 years of priestly ministry and at the same time it is an occasion to highlight the commitments that you have taken on as Legionaries of Christ at the service of the Gospel."

"In particular today, coming to see the Successor of Peter, you want to renew the commitment of your total fidelity to the Church and to him who providence wanted as its pastor," he said.

The "difficult mission" of proclaiming the Gospel requires that we  “cultivate constant intimacy with Christ, striving to follow and imitate Him docilely,” he continued.  “This,” he said, “will make you always ready to respond to the most genuine and profound expectations of the men and women of our time."

He concluded by asking that " the Year of the Eucharist, which began in October, be a promising occasion to grow in love for the Eucharist, source and summit of all of Christian life.”

“Stay close to the Eucharist!…the charism that characterizes you,” exhorted the Holy Father. “Continue in your evangelizing mission, while nourishing yourselves with Christ and being fearless witnesses."