Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
May 17, 2010
'Vast effort' needed to develop deeper witness
Pope comes to Portugal to call for re-evangelization of society
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
FATIMA, PORTUGAL - Pope Benedict has entrusted the world's priests to Our Lady of Fatima, saying the Church needs "holy priests, transfigured by grace."
The pope prayed that Mary keep priests from the temptations of evil and "restore calm after the tempest."
While he did not explicitly refer to the priestly sex abuse crisis, the pope's remarks May 12 in some ways echoed what he said on his flight to Portugal the previous day, when he called the scandal a "terrifying" example of sins committed by the Church's own ministers.
After celebrating evening prayer with priests, religious and seminarians, the pope pronounced the "act of entrustment and consecration of priests to the Immaculate Heart of Mary."
In the Year for Priests, he said, it was important to remind priests that Christ is their model of holiness.
"Help us, through your powerful intercession, never to fall short of this sublime vocation, nor to give way to our selfishness, to the allurements of the world and to the wiles of the Evil One," he said.
"Let your presence cause new blooms to burst forth in the desert of our loneliness, let it cause the sun to shine on our darkness, let it restore calm after the tempest," he said. "Come to our aid and deliver us from every danger that threatens us."
ENTRUSTMENT TO MARY
The entrustment of the world's priests to Mary was a late addition to the papal program in Fatima. It came as the pope and other Church officials have responded to disclosures of hundreds of past cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests in several European countries.
At the evening prayer service in Fatima's immense and modern Church of the Most Holy Trinity, the pope spoke about the importance of the Year for Priests and his hope that the Church's ordained ministers would strengthen their commitment to their vocations, above all through prayer.
He told priests that their own spiritual lives were crucial to their effectiveness in proclaiming the radical challenge of the Gospel.
"How much we need this witness today! Many of our brothers and sisters live as if there were nothing beyond this life and without concern for their eternal salvation," he said.
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