DAILY CATHOLIC     TUESDAY     April 27, 1999     vol. 10, no. 82

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Pope John Paul II ordained 31 young men to the priesthood on Sunday, April 25, as the Church around the world observed an annual day of prayer for priestly and religious vocations.

          During his homily at the ceremonies in St. Peter's Basilica, the Holy Father pointed out that-- as always-- the day dedicated to prayer for vocations coincided in the Church's liturgical calendar with the Gospel reading of the Good Shepherd. He said that the work begun on earth by Jesus "is prolonged across history by the work of new collaborators to whom he entrusts the care of his sheep." He stressed to the newly ordained priests that their ministerial vocation is "a great gift and a great mystery" insofar as it allows them to enter directly into Christ's ministry.

          To prepare themselves for that ministry, the Pope continued, priests should immerse themselves in devotion to the Eucharist, "the source and summit of Christian life." Through that devotion, he said, "they will obtain the inspiration and strength for their daily ministry, the apostolic enthusiasm for the work of evangelization, and spiritual consolation in the inevitable moments of difficulty and interior struggle."

          In his homily the Pope also alluded to the international retreat for priests, to be held in June in the Holy Land, under the auspices of the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy. He voiced the hope that many priests, from many countries, would participate in the event.

          The next day Pope John Paul II received Ariel Sharon, the Israeli foreign minister, at the Vatican on Monday, April 26.

          Sharon carried an invitation from the Israeli government for the Holy Father to visit that land "soon." The Holy See has not issued a response to that invitation, although it is well known that Pope John Paul would like to visit the Holy Land. The Vatican's response may be contingent on political developments in Israel, and on progress in the Mideast peace talks.

          During a busy visit to the Vatican-- which also included discussions with the Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, and his chief deputies, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran and Msgr. Celestino Migliore-- the Israeli official responded to questions about the recent disturbances in Nazareth, the status of Jerusalem, and the latest developments in the peace process.

          Sharon had been scheduled to meet with the Holy Father several weeks earlier-- on February 15-- but the appointment had been postponed. At the time, some journalists saw the postponement as evidence of tension between the Holy See and the Israeli government. Sharon explained that the postponement was caused by his wife's illness.

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales. Both CWN and NE are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

April 27, 1999       volume 10, no. 82


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