Reviving the Priesthood: Embracing Joy, Kindness, and Forgiveness


In a recent international meeting for priests, Pope Francis emphasized the importance of priests being human, kind, and forgiving. He identified these qualities as essential for priests to fulfill their calling and connect with people on a deeper level. The Pope’s three main messages to the participants were based on “the joy of the Gospel,” the sense of belonging to a supportive community, and the generative service that priests provide as parents and pastors.

The Pope expressed his gratitude to the organizers and participants for their dedication to the service they provide in their dioceses and countries. He acknowledged the challenges they face and the effort it took for them to attend the meeting. Pope Francis sees these gatherings as an opportunity for priests to share their experiences, discuss challenges, and explore new horizons in priestly formation.

The Pope emphasized the importance of journeying together and being open to discovering new tools and languages that promote priestly development. He cautioned against arrogance and the belief that one has all the answers, saying that he is “terrified” of those who think they know everything. Instead, he encouraged priests to listen to one another and be inspired by the message in the Biblical passage that urges them to “rekindle the gift of God that is in you.”

In his address, Pope Francis also emphasized the importance of joy in the life of a priest. He said that being in a friendship with the Lord frees them from the sadness of individualism and the risk of a life without meaning, love, or hope. He emphasized the need for priests to witness this joyous news with their lives so that others may see God’s rescuing love in Jesus Christ.

To maintain this joy, the Pope stressed the importance of comprehensive human formation. Being a Christian is not just about religious labels but also about a lifestyle that demands human care. Priests should strive to be fully human, engaging in relationships, caring for the elderly, and having the maturity to confront ministry problems. The Pope advised priests to focus their efforts on human formation, recognizing that grace always builds upon nature.

In his concluding remarks, Pope Francis emphasized the importance of kindness and forgiveness in the life of a priest. He urged them to never tire of showing mercy, as people seek forgiveness in confession and not just theological explanations or penances. He emphasized that forgiveness brings compassion and acceptance, which are crucial in regenerating and healing one’s internal self.

The Pope ended his address by mentioning the role of Our Lady in a priest’s life. He called for priests to seek and emulate her graceful tenderness, which he believes can be found in troubled individuals, the elderly, the sick, and young children. Pope Francis encouraged priests to ask for the grace of kind and strong tenderness in their lives.

In conclusion, Pope Francis’s messages to priests revolve around the importance of being human, kind, and forgiving. He emphasizes the joy of the Gospel, belonging to a supportive community, and the generative service that priests provide. The Pope encourages priests to listen to one another, pursue joy, and engage in comprehensive human formation. He also stresses the significance of kindness and forgiveness in their interactions with others. By embodying these qualities, Pope Francis believes that priests can fulfill their roles as representatives of God’s love and mercy.