More than 6,000 young men were participants in the Jubilee for priests and seminarians. The priests traveled from all over the world to spend three days in the heart of the Catholic Church, Rome, Italy.
They celebrated their vocation, focusing on the Jubilee Year of Mercy and their universal call to priesthood.
FR. JOSE ANTONIO ESCOBAR
"I think a priest is a call from God to serve a community, to serve as a bridge between God and men, offering themselves throughout their community and also being a member of the community.”
After hearing three different meditations given by Pope Francis, the priests were reminded about the evils of money and vanity, and asked to live a more simple, humble way of life. One priest from the Democratic Republic of the Congo explains.
FR. DONATIEN BEYA
"The priest is, himself, not important. Who's important is Jesus Christ and the priest comes in the name of Jesus Christ, that is because He's important.”
Just like everybody else, priests can be reminded and hear teachings about the path to heaven. It is beneficial, so they can better lead in their parishes back home.
Their time in Rome exemplified the Marks of the Church as One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. They united as one flock, led by the one shepherd of the Church, Jesus Christ. The Pope used this image to explain God's role, which then transcends to each bishop, priest and seminarian.
"The prophet Ezekiel reminds us that God himself goes out in search of his sheep. Without delaying, he leaves the pasture and his regular workday... and he doesn't ask to be paid for the extra hours."
The Pope highlighted the selflessness priests should have, living as examples of Christ, and following His model as pastor of the flock in their own parishes and communities. This priest describes how he personally tries to live out this example.
FR. KACPEC NOWAKOWSKI
"Pastors of the Church should be like the Good Shepherd, like Jesus. We should follow, we should imitate his love, his affection.” And pastors should thus open their arms, like Jesus on the cross, and say, 'Come to me all who are weary and afflicted and I will give you rest.' Jesus invites us all.”
This invitation is present in every Church throughout the world, as a call to unity and togetherness, while truly experiencing the mercy of God the Pope so often speaks about.