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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis in Casa Santa Marta: to be a priest is a gift, not a list of duties

During his homily at Casa Santa Marta, the pope reflected on something that troubles many priests: reducing their ministries to a list of duties or obligations. The pope said that this is what causes the essence of a priest's ministry to be lost.

It is not a job contract, ‘I have to do it.’ The act of doing is in the second place. I must receive the gift and care for it, and from there flows all the rest. When we forget this, appropriate the gift, and turn it into a function, then we lose the heart of ministry and lose Jesus’ gaze who looked upon us and said, ‘Follow me.’ Gratuitousness is lost.

Among those attending were members of the Council of Cardinals. There was also an Italian archbishop emeritus, Card. Edoardo Menichelli, who was celebrating 25 years of episcopal ordination.

(Source: Vatican Media)
There was this man, a good man, a good Pharisee but he had forgotten the gift of courtesy, the gift of hospitality – which is also a gift. Gifts are always forgotten when there is some sort of self-interest involved, when I want to do this or that thing – always doing, doing… Yes, we priests must all do things, and our first task is to proclaim the Gospel, but we must take care of our center, our source from which our mission flows, which is the gift we have freely received from the Lord.

Translated: Rachel Dobrzynski