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Jul 03, 2017


True friendship with Priests means “accompanying them and sustaining them in faith, fidelity to prayers and apostolic commitments,” the Holy Father, Pope Francis has declared. He asserted this at the Vatican, recently while speaking to members of Serra International, a group dedicated to promoting vocations to the priesthood and religious life.


While noting that the word “friend” has become wrongly overused in the present day world, especially in the social media as against the interpretation of Christ, the Pope stated that: “Being a true friend to priests and seminarians is a great gift the laity can offer to the Church”. He then called on the laity to recover the true meaning of friendship revealed to us in Jesus Christ.


His words: “Friend” is one of the most frequently found words in virtual communication, yet we know that superficial knowledge has little to do with that experience of encounter or closeness evoked by the word ‘friend.” The Pope continued: When Jesus speaks of his “friends,” He points to a hard truth that “true friendship involves an encounter that draws me so near to the other person that I give something of my very self.”


According to the Catholic Pontiff::  Jesus says to his disciples: “No longer do I call you servants… but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (Jn 15:15). He added: Jesus thus establishes “a new relationship” between God and man, freeing friendship from “sentimentalism.” Pope Francis stated further that Christ shows us that friendship involves a “responsibility that embraces our entire life: ‘Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’ (Jn 15:13).”


The Pope added; true friendship involves “sharing in the life of another person, an experience of compassion, a relationship that involves giving ourselves for others.” Lay people who offer priests true friendship, the Pope continued, “are like the home of Bethany, where Jesus entrusted his weariness to Martha and Mary, and, thanks to their care, was able to find rest and refreshment.”


Founded in North America, Serra International promotes priestly and religious vocations through prayer, and moral and financial support. It is the only lay organization linked to the Pontifical Work for Priestly Vocations, founded by Pius XII in 1941.

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