In these words from the prophet Jeremiah, God promises his people that he will never leave them without shepherds to gather them together and guide them: "I will set shepherds over them [my sheep] who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed Jer. The Church, the People of God, constantly experiences the reality of this prophetic message and continues joyfully to thank God for it. He, "the great shepherd of the sheep" Heb. Without priests the Church would not be able to live that fundamental obedience which is at the very heart of her existence and her mission in history, an obedience in response to the command of Christ: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations" Mt. It is also the foundation and impulse for a renewed act of faith and fervent hope in the face of the grave shortage of priests which is being felt in other parts of the world.
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In these words from the prophet Jeremiah, God promises his people that he will never leave them without shepherds to gather them together and guide them: "I will set shepherds over them [my sheep] who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed Jer.
The Church, the People of God, constantly experiences the reality of this prophetic message and continues joyfully to thank God for it.
He, "the great shepherd of the sheep" Heb. Without priests the Church would not be able to live that fundamental obedience which is at the very heart of her existence and her mission in history, an obedience in response to the command of Christ: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations" Mt.
It is also the foundation and impulse for a renewed act of faith and fervent hope in the face of the grave shortage of priests which is being felt in other parts of the world. Even though in a number of regions there is a scarcity of clergy, the action of the Father, who raises up vocations, will nonetheless always be at work in the Church.
We are deeply convinced that this trusting abandonment will not disappoint if we remain faithful to the graces we have received. To remain faithful to the grace received! This gift of God does not cancel human freedom; instead it gives rise to freedom, develops freedom and demands freedom. The Church must never cease to pray to the Lord of the harvest that he send laborers into his harvest, cf.
She must propose clearly and courageously to each new generation the vocational call, help people to discern the authenticity of their call from God and to respond to it generously, and give particular care to the formation of candidates for the priesthood.
The formation of future priests, both diocesan and religious, and lifelong assiduous care for their personal sanctification in the ministry and for the constant updating of their pastoral commitment is considered by the Church one of the most demanding and important tasks for the future of the evangelization of humanity.
And he appointed twelve, to be with him, and to be sent out to preach and have authority to cast out demons" Mk. It can be said that through her work of forming candidates to the priesthood and priests themselves, the Church throughout her history has continued to live this passage of the Gospel in various ways and with varying intensity. Today, however, the Church feels called to relive with a renewed commitment all that the Master did with his apostles - urged on as she is by the deep and rapid transformations in the societies and culture of our age; by the multiplicity and diversity of contexts in which she announces the Gospel and witnesses to it; by the promising number of priestly vocations being seen in some dioceses around the world; by the urgency of a new look at the contents and methods of priestly formation; by the concern of bishops and their communities about a persisting scarcity of clergy; and by the absolute necessity that the "new evangelization" have priests as its initial "new evangelizers.
Following the texts of the Second Vatican Council regarding the ministry of priests and their formation, 4 and with the intention of applying to various situations their rich and authoritative teaching, the Church has on various occasions dealt with the subject of the life, ministry and formation of priests She has done this in a more solemn way during the Synods of Bishops.
Already in October , the first general ordinary assembly of the synod devoted five general congregations to the subject of the renewal of seminaries. This work gave a decisive impulse to the formulation of the document of the Congregation for Catholic Education titled Fundamental Norms for Priestly Formation.
The fruit of the lengthy synodal discussion, incorporated and condensed in some "recommendations," which were submitted to my predecessor Pope Paul VI and read at the opening of the synod, referred principally to the teaching on the ministerial priesthood and to some aspects of priestly spirituality and ministry. It may be said that in the years since the Council there has not been any subject treated by the magisterium which has not in some way, explicitly or implicitly, had to do with the presence of priests in the community as well as their role and the need for them in the life of the Church and the world.
In recent years some have voiced a need to return to the theme of the priesthood, treating it from a relatively new point of view, one that was more adapted to present ecclesial and cultural circumstances. The new generation of those called to the ministerial priesthood display different characteristics in comparison to those of their immediate predecessors.
In addition, they live in a world which in many respects is new and undergoing rapid and continual evolution. All of this cannot be ignored when it comes to programming and carrying out the various phases of formation for those approaching the ministerial priesthood.
Moreover, priests who have been actively involved in the ministry for a more or less lengthy period of time seem to be suffering today from an excessive loss of energy in their ever increasing pastoral activities.
Likewise, faced with the difficulties of contemporary culture and society, they feel compelled to re - examine their way of life and their pastoral priorities, and they are more and more aware of their need for ongoing formation. The concern of the Synod of Bishops and its discussion focused on the increase of vocations to the priesthood and the formation of candidates in an attempt to help them come to know and follow Jesus - as they prepare to be ordained and to live the sacrament of holy orders, which configures them to Christ the head and shepherd, the servant and spouse of the Church.
At the same time, the synod searched for forms of ongoing formation to provide realistic and effective means of support for priests in their spiritual life and ministry. This same synod also sought to answer a request which was made at the previous synod on the vocation and mission of the laity in the Church and in the world. Lay people themselves had asked that priests commit themselves to their formation so that they, the laity, could be suitably helped to fulfill their role in the ecclesial mission which is shared by all.
Indeed, "the more the lay apostolate develops, the more strongly is perceived the need to have well - formed holy priests. Thus the very life of the People of God manifests the teaching of the Second Vatican Council concerning the relationship between the common priesthood and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood. For within the mystery of the Church the hierarchy has a ministerial character cf. Lumen Gentium, In the ecclesial experience that is typical of the synod i. Yes, in this exhortation l wish to meet with each and every priest, whether diocesan or religious.
Quoting from the "Final Message of the Synod to the People of God," I make my own the words and the sentiments expressed by the synod fathers: "Brother priests, we want to express our appreciation to you, who are our most important collaborators in the apostolate.
Your priesthood is absolutely vital. There is no substitute for it. You carry the main burden of priestly ministry through your day - to - day service of the faithful. It is you who bring comfort to people and guide them in difficult moments in their lives. We are ambassadors of Christ.
When Jesus lived on this earth, he manifested in himself the definitive role of the priestly establishing a ministerial priesthood with which the apostles were the first to be invested. This priesthood is destined to last in endless succession throughout history. In this sense the priest of the third millennium will continue the work of the priests who, in the preceding millennia, have animated the life of the Church. In the third millennium the priestly vocation will continue to be the call to live the unique and permanent priesthood of Christ.
For our part we must therefore seek to be as open as possible to light from on high from the Holy Spirit, in order to discover the tendencies of contemporary society, recognize the deepest spiritual needs, determine the most important concrete tasks and the pastoral methods to adopt, and thus respond adequately to human expectations.
What difficulties are posed by our times, and what new possibilities are offered for the exercise of a priestly ministry which corresponds to the gift received in the sacrament and the demands of the spiritual life which is consistent with it?
The Gospel Today: Hopes and Obstacles 6. A number of factors seem to be working toward making people today more deeply aware of the dignity of the human person and more open to religious values, to the Gospel and to the priestly ministry.
Despite many contradictions, society is increasingly witnessing a powerful thirst for justice and peace; a more lively sense that humanity must care for creation and respect nature; a more open search for truth; a greater effort to safeguard human dignity; a growing commitment in many sectors of the world population to a more specific international solidarity and a new ordering of the world in freedom and justice.
Parallel to the continued development of the potential offered by science and technology and the exchange of information and interaction of cultures, there is a new call for ethics, that is, a quest for meaning - and therefore for an objective standard of values which will delineate the possibilities and limits of progress. In the more specifically religious and Christian sphere, ideological prejudice and the violent rejection of the message of spiritual and religious values are crumbling and there are arising new and unexpected possibilities of evangelization and the rebirth of ecclesial life in many parts of the world.
These are evident in an increased love of the sacred Scriptures; in the vitality and growing vigor of many young churches and their ever - larger role in the defense and promotion of the values of human life and the person; and in the splendid witness of martyrdom provided by the churches of Central and Eastern Europe as well as that of the faithfulness and courage of other churches which are still forced to undergo persecution and tribulation for the faith.
For all children of the Church, and for priests especially, the increase of these phenomena, even in some traditionally Christian environments, is not only a constant motive to examine our consciences as to the credibility of our witness to the Gospel but at the same time is a sign of how deep and widespread is the search for God.
Mingled with these and other positive factors, there are also, however, many problematic or negative elements. Rationalism is still very widespread and, in the name of a reductive concept of "science," it renders human reason insensitive to an encounter with revelation and with divine transcendence.
We should take note also of a desperate defense of personal subjectivity which tends to close it off in individualism, rendering it incapable of true human relationships. As a result, many - especially children and young people - seek to compensate for this loneliness with substitutes of various kinds, in more or less acute forms of hedonism or flight from responsibility.
Prisoners of the fleeting moment, they seek to "consume" the strongest and most gratifying individual experiences at the level of immediate emotions and sensations, inevitably finding themselves indifferent and "paralyzed" as it were when they come face to face with the summons to embark upon a life project which includes a spiritual and religious dimension and a commitment to solidarity.
Furthermore, despite the fall of ideologies which had made materialism a dogma and the refusal of religion a program, there is spreading in every part of the world a sort of practical and existential atheism which coincides with a secularist outlook on life and human destiny. The individual, "all bound up in himself, this man who makes himself not only the center of his every interest, but dares to propose himself as the principle and reason of all reality," 12 finds himself ever more bereft of that "supplement of soul" which is all the more necessary to him in proportion - as a wide availability of material goods and resources deceives him about his self - sufficiency.
There is no longer a need to fight against God; the individual feels he is simply able to do without him. In this context special mention should be made of the breakup of the family and an obscuring or distorting of the true meaning of human sexuality. That phenomena have a very negative effect on the education of young people and on their openness to any kind of religious vocation. Furthermore, one should mention the worsening of social injustices and the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, the fruit of an inhuman capitalism 13 which increasingly widens the gap between affluent and indigent peoples.
In this way tension and unrest are introduced into everyday life, deeply disturbing the lives of people and of whole communities. There are also worrying and negative factors within the Church herself which have a direct influence on the lives and ministry of priests.
For example: the lack of due knowledge of the faith among many believers; a catechesis which has little practical effect, stifled as it is by the mass media whose messages are more widespread and persuasive; an incorrectly understood pluralism in theology, culture and pastoral teaching which - though starting out at times with good intentions - ends up by hindering ecumenical dialogue and threatening the necessary unity of faith; a persistent diffidence toward and almost unacceptance of the magisterium of the hierarchy; the one - sided tendencies which reduce the richness of the Gospel message and transform the proclamation and witness to the faith into an element of exclusively human and social liberation or into an alienating flight into superstition and religiosity without God.
A particularly important phenomenon, even though it is relatively recent in many traditionally Christian countries, is the presence within the same territory of large concentrations of people of different races and religions, thereby resulting in multiracial and multi - religious societies.
While on the one hand this can be an opportunity for a more frequent and fruitful exercise of dialogue, open - mindedness, good relations and a just tolerance - on the other hand the situation can also result in confusion and relativism, above all among people and populations whose faith has not matured.
Added to these factors, and closely linked with the growth of individualism, is the phenomenon of subjectivism in matters of faith. An increasing number of Christians seem to have a reduced sensitivity to the universality and objectivity of the doctrine of the faith because they are subjectively attached to what pleases them; to what corresponds to their own experience; and to what does not impinge on their own habits.
In such a context, even the appeal to the inviolability of the individual conscience - in itself a legitimate appeal - may be dangerously, marked by ambiguity. Finally, in many parts of the Church today it is still the scarcity of priests which creates the most serious problem. The faithful are often left to themselves for long periods, without sufficient pastoral support.
As a result their growth as Christians suffers, not to mention their capacity to become better promoters of evangelization. Young People: Vocation and Priestly Formation 8.
The many contradictions and potentialities marking our societies and cultures - as well as ecclesial communities - are perceived, lived and experienced by our young people with a particular intensity and have immediate and very acute repercussions on their personal growth. Thus, the emergence and development of priestly vocations among boys, adolescents and young men are continually under pressure and facing obstacles.
The lure of the so - called "consumer society" is so strong among young people that they become totally dominated and imprisoned by an individualistic, materialistic and hedonistic interpretation of human existence. Material "well - being," which is so intensely sought after, becomes the one ideal to be striven for in life, a well - being which is to be attained in any way and at any price. There is a refusal of anything that speaks of sacrifice and a rejection of any effort to look for and to practice spiritual and religious values.
The all - determining "concern" for having supplants the primacy of being, and consequently personal and interpersonal values are interpreted and lived not according to the logic of giving and generosity but according to the logic of selfish possession and the exploitation of others.
In this case, many young people undergo an affective experience which, instead of contributing to a harmonious and joyous growth in personality which opens them outward in an act of self - giving, becomes a serious psychological and ethical process of turning inward toward self, a situation which cannot fail to have grave consequences on them in the future.
In the case of some young people a distorted sense of freedom lies at the root of these tendencies. Therefore, on the level of thought and behavior, it is almost natural to find an erosion of internal consent to ethical principles. On the religious level, such a situation, if it does not always lead to an explicit refusal of God, causes widespread indifference and results in a life which, even in its more significant moments and more decisive choices, is lived as if God did not exist.
In this context it is difficult not only to respond fully to a vocation to the priesthood but even to understand its very meaning as a special witness to the primacy of "being" over "having," and as a recognition that the significance of life consists in a free and responsible giving of oneself to others, a willingness to place oneself entirely at the Service of the Gospel and the kingdom of God as a priest.
In fact, if in them - more so than in adults - there is present a strong tendency to subjectivize the Christian faith and to belong only partially and conditionally to the life and mission of the Church, and if the Church community is slow for a variety of reasons to initiate and sustain an up - to - date and courageous pastoral care for young people, they risk being left to themselves, at the mercy of their psychological frailty?
Thus we see how difficult it is to present young people with a full and penetrating experience of Christian and ecclesial life and to educate them in it.
So, the prospect of having a vocation to the priesthood is far from the actual everyday interests which young men have in life. Nevertheless, there are positive situations and tendencies which bring about and nurture in the heart of adolescents and young men a new readiness, and even a genuine search, for ethical and spiritual values.
These naturally offer favorable conditions for embarking on the journey of a vocation which leads toward the total gift of self to Christ and to the Church in the priesthood. First of all, mention should be made of the decrease of certain phenomena which had caused many problems in the recent past, such as radical rebellion, libertarian tendencies, utopian claims, indiscriminate forms of socialization and violence.
The fruitful and active development among so many young people today of numerous and varied forms of voluntary service, directed toward the most forgotten and forsaken of our society, represents in these times a particularly important resource for personal growth. It stimulates and sustains young people in a style of life which is less self - interested and more open and sympathetic toward the poor. This way of life can help young men perceive, desire and accept a vocation to stable and total service of others, following the path of complete consecration to God as a priest.
The recent collapse of ideologies, the heavily critical opposition to a world of adults who do not always offer a witness of a life based on moral and transcendent values, and the experience of companions who seek escape through drugs and violence - contribute in no small fashion to making more keen and inescapable the fundamental question as to what values are truly capable of giving the fullest meaning to life, suffering and death.
Pastores Dabo Vobis, Juan Pablo II
Tajinn This is the case not only because it configures the priest to Christ, the head and shepherd of the Church, entrusting him with a prophetic, priestly and royal mission to be carried out in the name and person of Christ, but also because it inspires and enlivens his daily existence, enriching it with gifts and demands, virtues and incentives which are summed up in pastoral charity. When Jesus lived on this earth, he manifested in himself the definitive role of the priestly establishing a ministerial priesthood with which the apostles were the first to be invested. Consequently, the nature and mission of the ministerial priesthood cannot be defined except through this multiple and rich interconnection of relationships which arise from the Blessed Trinity and are prolonged in the communion of the Church, as a sign and instrument of Christ, of communion with God and of the unity of all humanity. While on the one hand this can be an opportunity for a more frequent and fruitful exercise of dialogue, open — mindedness, good relations and a just tolerance — on the other hand the situation can also result in confusion and vobus, above all among people and populations whose faith has not matured.
DESCARGAR PASTORES DABO VOBIS PDF
Jesus thus established a close relationship vobiw the ministry entrusted to the apostles and his own mission: Holiness is intimacy with God; it is the imitation of Christ, who was poor, chaste and humble; it is unreserved love for souls and a giving of oneself on their descargr and for their true good; it is love for the Church which is holy and wants us to be holy, because this is the mission that Christ entrusted to her. There is no substitute for it. By virtue of this consecration brought about by the outpouring of the Spirit in the sacrament of holy orders, the spiritual life of the priest is marked, molded and characterized by the way of thinking and acting proper to Jesus Christ, head and shepherd of the Church, and which are summed up in his pastoral charily. The Church not only embraces in herself all the vocations which God gives her along the path to salvation, but she herself appears as a mystery of vocation, a luminous and living reflection of the mystery of the Blessed Trinity. He who laid down his life for his sheep, who died for his flock, he is risen, alleluia. Pastoral charity determines our way of thinking and acting, our way of relating to people. And thus the promise which God had made to Israel was fulfilled: The ministry of the priest, precisely because of its participation in the saving ministry of Jesus Christ the head and shepherd, cannot fail to express and live out his pastoral charity which is both the source and spirit of his service and gift of self.
Gakree The gift of grace offered to the Church becomes the principle of holiness and a call to sanctification. He is consecrated and sent forth to proclaim the good news of the kingdom to all, calling every person to the obedience of faith and leading believers to an ever increasing knowledge of and communion in the mystery of God, as revealed and communicated to pastorea in Christ. This is the ordinary and proper way in which ordained ministers share in the one priesthood of Christ. As the author of the letter to the Hebrews writes, Jesus, being a man like us and at the same time the only begotten Son of God, is in his very being the perfect mediator between the Father and humanity cf. Hence we can say that every priest receives his vocation from our Lord through the Church as a gracious gift, a grace gratis data charisma. Thus, by his very nature and sacramental mission, the priest appears in the structure of the Church as a sign of the absolute priority and gratuitousness of the grace given to the Church by the risen Christ.