Advent meditation series in Papal chapel contemplates origins of priesthood

.- The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, reported today that the Apostolic Preacher, Capuchin Friar Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, will be starting the traditional Friday meditations for Advent in the Papal chapel, Redemptoris Mater, today. The subject of the meditations will be "Ministers of Christ and dispensers of the mystery of God."

Fr. Cantalamessa told L'Osservatore that the series will "follow in line with the scope of Holy Father Benedict XVI's designation of the Year of the Priest..."

This year, he said, "should serve to bring the priest back to the inner core, to the source of each apostolate, of each priesthood, that not only gives efficacy to his ministry, but also joy to the presbyterium."

"The nature and duties of the priesthood, as presented in the two texts of the New Testament most directly pertaining to the theme" will be contemplated in the talks.

These two texts, are "Thus should one regard us: as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. " (1 Corinthians 4:1) and "Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. " (Hebrews 5:1)

Thus, the meditations will "shed light on the original identity of 'the spirit of each priesthood,' returning to the foundation among all of the historic tasks and details taken on over the course of the centuries."

According to Cantalamessa's website, he has been the Apostolic Preacher at the Vatican since 1980 when he was appointed by then Pope John Paul II. His position requires that he give meditations on Fridays during Lent and Advent in the Papal chapel. He is also a member of the delegation for dialogue with Pentecostal churches and presents the Sunday Gospel during the week on Italy's RAI, a national television station.

Besides the Pope, those present at the meditations include members of the Papal chapel among them Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops, Secretaries of the Congregations, Prelates of the Roman Curia and of the Vicariate of Rome, Superior Generals and Procurators of the religious orders.

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