Pope Opens Triduum With Advice for Bishops, Priests

Urges Them to Be Saints

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VATICAN CITY, APR. 12, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II called bishops and priests to be saints, because the testimony of holiness they can give to Christian communities in the world depends on their dedication and sacrifice.

The Pope made his appeal during the Chrism Mass celebration, which began the three holy days when Christians commemorate the passion, death and resurrection of Christ.

During the Mass, the Holy Father blessed the holy oils which will be used during the year to administer the sacraments. He concelebrated the Mass in St. Peter´s Basilica with the bishops and priests present in Rome.

Before the hundreds of priests in attendence renewed their priestly vows, John Paul II reminded them that the priesthood and episcopacy are "a road to sanctity."

"It is a road that each one travels in a very personal way, known only to God, who searches and knows hearts," the Pontiff said. "Although it is true that no one can become a saint in someone else´s place, it is also true that each one must become a saint with and for others, following Christ´s model."

"Is not personal sanctity nourished by that spirituality of communion, which must always precede and accompany concrete initiatives of charity?" John Paul II asked. And he responded: "To educate the faithful [in holiness], we pastors are asked to give consistent witness."