The Pope presided at an ordination Mass today in St. Peter's Basilica in which, as Bishop of Rome, he bestowed the sacrament of holy orders on candidates from his own diocese.
All of the men studied for the priesthood in Rome, although seven of the new priests are from outside of Italy. The non-Italian priests are from Iraq, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay, France, Haiti and India.
In his homily Benedict XVI explained that today a new mission was beginning for them. Being missionaries of the Gospel, he said, they must “proclaim and witness to joy.”
The Pontiff asked, “What can be more beautiful to us than this? What can be greater, more exciting, than working together to spread the Word of life in the world, than communicating the living water of the Spirit?”
Priests are called to bring the Gospel to all “so that all experience the joy of Christ and there be joy in every city,” the Holy Father observed. They are called to be “messengers of this joy,” to multiply and transmit it, especially to those who are sad and disheartened.
“If you are to be co-workers of the joy of others, of people who are often sad and negative, the fire of the Gospel must burn in you, the joy of the Lord must live in you,” he told the ordinands.
After the Mass, in his address before reciting the Regina Caeli with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Benedict XVI returned to the theme of his homily.
The Pope said, “Where Christ is preached with the power of the Holy Spirit and he is accepted with an open soul, society, though it be full of problems, becomes a “city of joy” -- which is also the title of a book about the work of Mother Teresa in Calcutta.
“This then is the wish I have for the newly ordained priests, for whom I invite all to pray: that where they are sent they may spread the joy and hope that flow from the Gospel."