Pope requests prayers for formation of priests and men and women religious

In this month’s Pope Video, Pope Francis dedicates his prayer intention to the formation of seminarians and men and women religious.
In his video message, disseminated through the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, he says “every vocation is a ‘diamond in the rough’ that needs to be polished, worked, shaped on every side.”

Integral formation for all of life

In the apostolic constitution Veritatis Gaudium, on Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties, the Pope emphasises that the integral formation of priestly and religious vocations must include the human, spiritual, pastoral and communitarian dimensions.
It must also take into account cultural and social diversity. In the same vein, Pope Francis picks this requirement up in the video, and insists that formation should “lead them to be credible witnesses of the Gospel”.
In this sense, formation is not only about acquiring knowledge, but is an experience of a profound encounter with Jesus.

Formation to community life

Life in community is a central aspect of men and women religious, or priests. According to the Pope, this is one of the key points in the formation and preparation of anyone who responds to this vocation.
He says that although this experience can be “enriching,” at times, “it can be difficult.” He then comments that, “living together is not the same as living in community.”
Pope Francis shares that living and relating with others is not easy at times, but that community life is always a school of holiness where one grows in the different human virtues and learns to go beyond oneself.

Most important years

It is precisely community life that plays a central role in the images of The Pope Video this month, which accompany Pope Francis’s words: from a basketball game to meals together, passing to moments together in prayer and study, and, of course, the Eucharist and service to the poorest.
Every young seminarian, man or woman religious, strengthens their vocation in the sharing of experiences and in continual interaction with others. Their years in formation are very important in the preparation of the entire consecrated person. The scenes of life filmed in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles – which participated in the production of this video – portray its beauty, underlining several aspects of the Pope’s message: above all, the concept that formation is an ongoing journey, and that, as the Holy Father repeats: “A good priest, sister or nun, must above all else be a man, a woman who is formed, shaped by the Lord’s grace.”

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