Benedict XVI Ordains 21 Priests on Pentecost

Urges Them to "Take the Peace of Christ to the World"

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 15, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI ordained 21 priests for the Diocese of Rome on Pentecost, encouraging them to evangelize the world with the sacraments of the Eucharist and penance.



In the Pope's homily today in St. Peter's Basilica, he outlined the characteristic features of the Church, "which must again become what she already is; she must open the borders between peoples and break the barriers between classes and races."

"She cannot have any who are forgotten or disdained," he said, imploring a new effusion of the Holy Spirit that will open "those borders that we men continue to raise between us."

The newly ordained, ranging in age from 26 to 55, represent nine countries on three continents: Italy (11), Bolivia (2), Uruguay, Costa Rica, Peru, Ireland, Rumania, Kenya, Angola and Nigeria.

The 21 attended 4 different seminarians: the Pontifical Major Roman Seminary (6), Redemptoris Mater, initiative of the Neo-Catechumenal Way (9), the Priestly Fraternity of the Sons of the Cross (1), and the Sons of St. Anne (2).

The Holy Father invited the new priests to transform the world with the sacraments of the Eucharist and penance, of which they are now ministers after their priestly ordination.

In the name of Jesus, "you can say: 'This is my body,' 'This is my blood.' Let yourselves be attracted every time in the holy Eucharist by communion of life with Christ," recommended Benedict XVI.

"Consider as the center of every day your being able to celebrate Mass in a worthy manner. Lead men again to this mystery. Help them to start from it, to take the peace of Christ to the world," he added.

In this mission, the Pope continued, the new priests also have the "power of forgiveness."

"The sacrament of penance is one of the treasures of the Church, as only in forgiveness is the genuine renewal of the world effected. Nothing can improve the world, if evil is not overcome," he added.

"And evil can only be overcome with forgiveness. Of course, it must be effective forgiveness. But this forgiveness can only be given to us by the Lord, a forgiveness that does not remove evil only with words, but that really transforms it," he stressed.

After the homily, the 21 deacons knelt before the Pope for the imposition of hands. Then he pronounced the prayer of ordination.

After the Eucharistic celebration, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Regina Caeli (which replaces the Angelus in Eastertide), and was surprised by the size of the crowd of nearly 50,000 pilgrims that filled St. Peter's square.

The Pope apologized for being a bit late for the midday appointment because of the ordinations.

In his brief message, the Pope linked Pentecost to the ordination of the new priests, reminding the faithful that "without the Holy Spirit, the Church would be reduced to a merely human organization, with the weight of its very structures."

"Moreover, in God's plans, the Spirit habitually makes use of human mediations to act in history. Precisely for this reason, Christ ... constituted his Church on the foundation of the apostles united around Peter," he added.

"May the ecclesial community remain always open and docile to the action of the Holy Spirit, in order to be a credible sign and effective instrument of God's action among men," he concluded.

The Holy Father greeted the pilgrims in Italian and German, in particular members of the Community of Sant'Egidio visiting from Germany.