Faith is a call to service and mission, pope tells U.S. seminarians

By CNS Rome
Wednesday, January 18, 2023

VATICAN CITY  — The call to faith in Jesus always is a call to service and mission, Pope Francis told seminarians, priests and staff of the Pontifical North American College.

“Whenever Jesus calls men and women, he always does so in order to send them out, in particular to the vulnerable and those on the margins of society, whom we are not only called to serve but from whom we can also learn much,” the pope said Jan. 14.

The college, a seminary in Rome sponsored by the bishops of the United States, has 116 students from 55 dioceses.

Msgr. Thomas W. Powers, rector of the college, told Pope Francis: “The generous young men you see in front of you want to be like Jesus, the good shepherd. They know the Lord will use their eyes to seek out the suffering; their mouths to preach his Word, console the afflicted and make him present in the Eucharist; their hands to give strength to the sick and the dying and to heal those oppressed by sin; and their feet to go to the peripheries to lead the lost sheep home.”

Pope Francis noted that the students’ years in Rome coincide with “the synodal journey that the whole church is presently undertaking, a journey that involves listening — to the Holy Spirit and to one another — in order to discern how to help God’s holy people live his gift of communion and become missionary disciples.” The same “challenge and task” is entrusted to those preparing for ordination, he said.

“People nowadays need us to listen to their questions, anxieties and dreams so that we can better lead them to the Lord, who rekindles hope and renews the life of all.”

The pope asked the seminarians to “keep your eyes open both to the mystery of the church’s unity, manifested in legitimate diversity yet lived in the oneness of faith, and to the prophetic witness of charity that the church, particularly here in Rome, expresses through her concrete acts of care for those in need.”



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