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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis to priests from Latin America: “Be pastors to the people of God”

Students of the Pontifical Latin American College welcomed Pope Francis with song. He encouraged them to cherish the diversity in the college with students coming from 15 different countries. Pope Francis urged them to stay close to people and far from the desire of power.

Please, never compromise in your pastoral responsibilities. Be pastors of the people of God, not of the state. Do not fall into clericalism, which is one of the worst forms of corruption. Be very careful.

Pope Francis invited the students to connect with Jesus and to proclaim His word to the poor.

Some students asked the Pope for advice. Fr. Jose Leonardo Basto asked about being a better confessor.

He told me something very special. I presented him with a purple stole so that he could bless it and help me. I specifically asked him to bless me to be a good confessor. He told me that when I go to a confessional, I must always forgive as Jesus forgives each of us every day.

For Fr. Juan Marcelo Leonardi, it was his second time meeting with the Pope. The first time they met, Pope Francis gave him some tea herbs.

I told him, “Pope Francis! I've been waiting to drink mate with you.” And jokingly he says, “I know, I couldn't make it. Do you need the tea herbs?” I told him, “yes, I need them.” He said, “well, ask my secretary,” and then they actually sent it.
A month later they arrived. It was that simple. And he doesn't onl
y do it with me. He does it with anyone who drinks mate whether they are Argentinian, Uruguayan or Paraguayan.

After this meeting, the students will continue their studies knowing Pope Francis is praying for them.