Luanda (Agenzia Fides) - "With you and with this Church, I want to praise and thank the Lord for the gift of many vocations that the Lord does not cease to awaken in this young Angolan Church. While I admire and thank God for the number of vocations to religious and priestly life, I appeal above all to seek, each one of you, the quality of discipleship. Focus on quality and train yourselves to be disciples of quality! "This was the exhortation addressed to diocesan and religious seminarians of the ecclesiastical province of Luanda, who Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, met yesterday afternoon, November 14, in the Archdiocesan Seminary Sagrado Coração de Jesus in Luanda, during his pastoral visit in Angola (see Fides, 9/11/2018).
The Prefect of the Missionary Dicastery focused his speech on the question that every seminarian should ask himself during his journey of formation: "What kind of priest do I wish to be?". He therefore suggested the answers: not a priest who loves comfort and luxury, "these are priests who prefer the tranquility and serenity of their offices, their armchairs, their luxury cars". Not even priests who carry out a job or a function, in a period of the day, week and month, and they do it for a salary, a reward ...
Not clerical priests: "Pope Francis - the Cardinal recalled - on several occasions criticized 'clericalism' within the Church and, above all, speaking to seminarians and young priests, asked young people to say 'no to clericalism' ... For the Pope, clericalism does not allow growth, it does not allow the potential of baptism to develop". Lastly, not even priests who lead a "double life", who live priesthood in a hypocritical way.
Therefore Cardinal Filoni outlined the profile of the priest, diocesan or religious, who must first have clear awareness of being called to be authentically "a missionary disciple". He must therefore step out of himself, his egoism, his self-referentiality, to meet Jesus who calls him. "He is a person in love with the Master, in love with the Gospel, who, surprised, challenged and provoked by the ever present fascination of the figure of Jesus, through his words and his gestures of love, lives today and now, the joy of the Gospel and commits himself to be a pastor according to His heart".
Moreover, the Cardinal continued, he lives with the others who belong to the same presbytery, the presbyterian fraternity, in obedient listening to the Bishop or to superiors, in a community where there is no competition, favoritism or individualism, but mutual help, pastoral solidarity, coexistence.
He must therefore be a priest who goes out to meet the poor, living the "evangelical poverty", bringing the Gospel in the streets, in the geographic and existential outskirts. Passionate priests of Jesus Christ and servants of the joy of the Gospel: "They are those who are with everyone, especially the poorest, the most suffering, the sinners and the sick, to communicate to them the joy of the Risen One, to restore lost hope, to be a sign of the blessing of the God full of mercy". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 15/11/2018)