Seminarians from all over the world, who study in Rome's pontifical colleges, got to see Pope Francis at the Vatican's Paul VI Hall. Before starting, the Pope bowed his head before an image of Our Lady.
The first thing he did was to excuse himself.
"Sorry for the delay. Mexican Bishops are here for their 'ad limina' visit..and well."
The purpose was to hear some words of encouragement, as they start this new chapter in their vocation. One of the questions was asked by an American deacon from Rome's North American College.
"We came to Rome primarily to foster our academic formation. How can we stay true to this purpose, without neglecting a well rounded priestly formation, both on a personal and community level?”
The Pope explained that academics is key to one's formation, but it can't all be based on studies.
"If you give into the danger of focusing just on academics, you go back home not as Father this or that, but rather as Doctor. This is dangerous.”
He said a complete priestly formation is based on four pillars: the spiritual, academic, community life and apostolic.
"You can't understand a priest who may have a degree from Rome, yet he doesn't live a life of community. It can't be. Or a priest who doesn't nurture his spiritual life, celebrate daily Mass, or who doesn't pray daily, or follow the 'lectio divina' and pray personally before the Lord.”
A lot of applause and even some cheers quickly followed. Before heading out, he reminded the group that even though they're studying in Rome, their main purpose is to go back home to be pastors.