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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis: A missionary is more important than a Pontiff

Father Helter helps lead an African seminary is Angola. He came to Rome in the hopes of getting funds for their  re-location. But his trip took a different and unexpected turn when he spoke to Pope Francis after his weekly general audience.  FR. HELTER LARA Vice Chancellor, Redemptoris Mater Seminary (Angola) "We told the Pope that we were missionaries and we asked him if we could celebrate Mass with him in Santa Marta. We were really impressed because without skipping a beat, the Pope said: It's done. Tomorrow you celebrate Mass with us.â?  True to his word, the very next day Fr. Helter, along with another priest, celebrated Mass with Pope Francis. Afterward, they talked to him.  FR. HELTER LARA Vice Chancellor, Redemptoris Mater Seminary (Angola) "I talked about my life. I was excited about meeting him and sharing how Jesus had changed me.â?  He abandoned his faith for years, but at the age of 19, Fr. Helter says, he joined the  Neocatechumenal Way and his life forever changed. He decided to become a priest and was eventually sent to Angola.  FR. HELTER LARA Vice Chancellor, Redemptoris Mater Seminary (Angola) "I told the Pope that I was in Angola and that I was very happy being a missionary and dedicating my life to Jesus. I told him I loved being a priest. The Pope was listening to everything very attentively, and when I started talking about my personal life, he gave me a hug and  thanked me. He told me, 'thank you for sharing your story. You've really helped me. Keep up the good work in Angola, we need more holy priests. He then said, 'thank you for comforting me amid so much pain.' But when he hugged me he said, 'missionaries are more important than the Pope. It's an honor to hug a missionary.â?  Even though, Fr. Helter didn't gather all the funds he needed to build a new seminary in Luanda, he did go back home with something that money can't buy.  JMB/KLH  AA FA -PR up: PM