The leadership of service
· Pope Francis answers the questions of students of Pontifical universities and colleges ·
What is the leadership of the priest? It is about serving people with love. A bishop or priest who does not know the meaning of service is not a good shepherd, even if he has many other qualities. This was one of the most important moments in the conversation which Pope Francis had on Monday morning, 12 May, with the students of the Pontifical colleges and universities of Rome.
He recalled that, before cell phones existed, the old parish priests of Buenos Aires slept with the telephone next to them, thus no one died without the sacraments. The people called them at any hour, the priests got up and went. That is true leadership in a priest.
In the Paul VI Hall, the Bishop of Rome answered for more than an hour and a half eight questions of the seminarians and priests who study in the city. The result was a picture of a priest for today, one who has strengths to be sought after and downfalls to avoid. The Pope warned of two risks: “love for money” and “vanity”, that is, those sins which “the people do not forgive of their own pastors”. Because the people will not forgive those who are attached to their money or are vain and do not treat others well. Therefore leadership must translate into service with personal, individual love for every person entrusted to him.
And it is through nearness that service materializes, that is, in the neighborhood, in that humble act of leaving ourselves to go to the outskirts – now a common theme for Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who offered to the young and future priests all of his experience as a Jesuit priest and as Bishop of Buenos Aires and then of Rome.
At the beginning of the meeting, responding to the greeting of the Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, Cardinal Beniamino Stella, noted the presence of the more than 150 seminarians from the Middle East, Pope Francis assured them of his prayers for the people “in this moment of suffering” and to the people of Ukraine, where the Church is suffering.
St. Peter’s Square
Oct. 24, 2019
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