(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday met with members of the Pontifical Leonine College of Anagni, a regional seminary for several of the Diocese around the city of Rome. The College was founded by Pope Leo XIII in 1897.
In his address, Pope Francis spoke about the importance of forming seminarians in “a climate of prayer and fraternity.” This atmosphere, he said, allows seminarians to grow closer to “the sentiments of Jesus Christ, His love for the Father and for the Church,” and His dedication to the people of God.
The Pope warned the seminarians that they are not preparing to be functionaries, but true shepherds in the image of Jesus the Good Shepherd.
Being a “good shepherd” in His image is something no one can achieve on his own – but Pope Francis reminded the seminarians that “it is not our work… It is the work of the Holy Spirit.” Only by allowing oneself to be shaped – as clay is shaped by the potter — will seminarians be able “to shepherd the people of God and guide them “along the Way that is Jesus.”
This, the Holy Father said, “means meditating every day on the Gospel… experiencing the mercy of God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation… eating the Eucharist with faith and with love… being men of prayer.”
“If you are not disposed to follow along this street,” the Pope said, “it would be better for you to have the courage to seek another path.”
Pope Francis concluded his address by calling on the seminarians to take seriously the words of the Prophets: “Woe to the wicked Shepherds who pasture themselves and not their flocks.” “May this ‘woe,’” he said, make you reflect seriously on your future.”
Text from Vatican Radio website