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Church Needs Well Prepared Priests, Says Pope

Marks Centenary of Pontifical Polish Ecclesiastical Institute

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 18, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is underlining the Church"s need for priests who are well prepared for ministry through a strong friendship with Jesus.
The Pope stated this Monday during an audience with members of the community from the Pontifical Polish Ecclesiastical Institute in Rome on the occasion of the centenary of its foundation.

He noted the institute"s commitment "to offer Polish priests an ideal environment for study and fraternity during the period of formation in Rome."

"The Church needs well prepared priests," the Pontiff stated, "rich in that wisdom that is acquired in friendship with the Lord Jesus, drawing constantly from the Eucharistic table and from the inexhaustible source of his Gospel."

"From these two irreplaceable sources know how to draw the constant support and necessary inspiration for your life and your ministry, for a sincere love of the Truth that today you are called to deepen also through study and scientific research and that you will be able to share tomorrow with many," he said.

The Holy Father noted that for those priests currently living in Rome at the institute, the search for truth "is stimulated and enriched by the closeness to the Apostolic See, which must give a specific and universal service to the Catholic communion in truth and in charity."

"To remain close to Peter, in the heart of the Church, means to acknowledge, full of gratitude, that you are within a centuries-long and fruitful history of salvation, which by a manifold grace has reached you and in which you are called to participate actively so that, as a luxuriant tree, you will always bear precious fruits," he affirmed.

Benedict XVI continued, "May love and devotion to the figure of Peter drive you to serve generously the communion of the whole Catholic Church and of your particular Churches."

In this way, he said, "as one great family, all can learn to recognize in Christ, the Way, the Truth, the Life, the face of the merciful Father, who does not wish any of his children to be lost."

The institute was initiated by St. Jozef Sebastian Pelczar (1842-1924) while he was bishop of Przemysl, Poland. It was erected on March 19, 1910 during the pontificate of St. Pius X, and was solemnly inaugurated on November 13, 1910.

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