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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis in DRC: "Priesthood can be dry if you expect to be served and to not serve"

Pope Francis arrived in a wheelchair at Our Lady of Congo Cathedral in Kinshasa to meet with priests, seminarians and religious. Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo greeted him at the door. The Pope blessed him and two children who brought him flowers.

Once inside, the Cardinal thanked the Pope for his visit.

Most Holy Father, your visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo gives us a reason to hope and to project ourselves into the future with greater determination and dedication.

Pope Francis explained that, as consecrated men and women, their vocation is to serve the people—not the other way around.

The priesthood and consecrated life can become dry if we live them hoping to be served instead of serving the people. It is not a business to earn money nor is it a way to get a social position. Neither is it a way to elevate one's family. But the mission is to be signs of Christ's presence.

The Pope warned those present of three temptations: spiritual mediocrity, worldly comfort and superficiality. To overcome spiritual mediocrity, he asked them to always make time for prayer, Mass and confession, no matter how busy they are. Pope Francis said that in order to bring forgiveness to others, they must also be filled with mercy.

To overcome worldly comfort, the Pope warned against a love of money—especially in poor countries, where it is especially tempting to take advantage of their ministry to live a better life.

To avoid superficiality, he asked them not to be cold and self-centered. He encouraged them to be close to their parishioners.

Pope Francis asked for their prayers. He reminded them, on behalf of the whole Church, that they are all important and valuable.