Theme: Collegium Paulinum
Dear friends and benefactors,
In history, the lives of those men and women who were messengers of hope had far-reaching consequences. The saints were such people. They were ready to be transformed: from sadness to joy, from disappointment to hope, from death to life. Mother Julia said: “Saints are men who have approached God with faith and with a confidence full of love.”
Among them is Pope John Paul II. His own words have become reality: “Holiness is the power which can transform the world”. Our community owes him a lot. He confirmed the charism given to Mother Julia by granting us his approval as a new form of consecrated life. The establishment of the Collegium Paulinum as a place of formation for future priests is linked to this recognition. In this Newsletter young people who were at the Beatification speak briefly of their impressions.
As a follow-up to the Year for Priests, Pope Benedict wrote a letter to seminarians preparing for holy orders. This shows his fatherly care for future priests. He points out two important elements in the formation of priests. Two of our fratres recount what especially touched them in the letter of the Holy Father. He reminds that the world always needs priests because she needs God.
I thank all of you sincerely for your financial and spiritual support in our work of forming future priests. I ask you to continue to support us so that even in our times we may have messengers who lead people to God.
When in December 1944 I was drafted for military service, the company commander asked each of us what we planned to do in the future. I answered that I wanted to become a Catholic priest. The lieutenant replied: “Then you ought to look for something else. In the new Germany priests are no longer needed”. In different ways, though, many people nowadays also think that the Catholic priesthood is not a “job” for the future, but one that belongs more to the past. You, dear friends, have decided to enter the seminary and to prepare for priestly ministry in the Catholic Church in spite of such opinions and objections. You have done a good thing. It does makes sense to become a priest: the world needs priests, pastors, today, tomorrow and always, until the end of time.
“Where people no longer perceive God, life grows empty”
Personally I also recognise who God is when I look at the lives of great Saints. As a guide in the Catacombs of St Sebastian I clearly have the life of St Sebastian in front of my eyes. He recognised God and daily proclaimed Christ to the Early Christians through his example. In spite of the emperor’s failed attempts at having his executed, he continued to take care of other Christians until eventually he crowned his life for God with martyrdom. Like Sebastian I strive to radiate and to proclaim the Lord enthusiastically in order to be able to fill something of that emptiness which many people experience in their lives.
fr. Daniel Zucker
“Anyone who wishes to become a priest must be first and foremost a ‘man of God’,
to use the expression of Saint Paul (1 Tim 6:11). For us God is not some abstract hypothesis; he is not some stranger who left the scene after the “big bang”. God has revealed himself in Jesus Christ. In the face of Jesus Christ we see the face of God.”
This part of the letter to the seminarians appeals to me because the Holy Father shows how concretely God is present for us in priests. We can meet the Lord especially and see his face in those priests who live in union with God. Their personal relationship to God in Jesus Christ is joined with the grace of their ordination. In this way Christ shines through them.
Of course, this deep relationship with Christ is a great challenge in the time before and after ordination. This is not a burden, but a motivation: I have already received a lot in my life and am called to give much to others. This is part of the fascination of being called to the priesthood: I can offer my life so that others may meet Jesus Christ.
fr. Martin Deak
The love of Blessed John Paul II for all men and especially for youth was reciprocated by hundreds of thousands of people on 1st May 2011. His Beatification brought together over a million pilgrims, among them especially young people. In the Collegium Paulinum we opened our doors for some of the pilgrims. About 20 young people from Belgium, Austria and The Netherlands were our guests in the days surrounding the Beatification. With them we prepared for the great day through prayer, catechesis and by being together as a family of God.
Some of them experienced the centre of the universal Church for the first time, others had already been to Rome. For all of them it was a day which will mark their lives as Christians as you can read in the following testimonies:
I was impressed by the atmosphere of prayer which was tangible despite the great number of people. Martin
I am proud to be Catholic. Dries
One can sense how the Church grows. Frederik
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