Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Meeting with Seminarians

We didn't actually have tickets for the meeting with seminarians and their families, but over the years I've learnt not to be too English in such matters. On Friday evening I concelebrated at the Mass for seminarians after which the tickets hadto be collected. I simply waited around in the sacristy until most people had gone and then got one of the Spanish seminarians to get me a couple of the tickets that were left over. I knew that security wouldn't be as it was in Germany and that the fact the tickets had someone else's name and passport details on them really wouldn't be a problem.
We arrived early and got quite close to the front. The Holy Father went first to the Cathedral where he met the Spanish bishops and enclosed religious. Then he went to the Basilica where the image of the patroness of Valencia (Our Lady of the Forlorn) is venerated. There he met and prayed with the families of those who died in the metro accident in Valencia earlier that week. Finally, he came out into the square to a rapturous welcome from the seminarians and their families. This is what he said specifically to the seminarians:

I wish now to offer an affectionate greeting to you, dear seminarians, together with your families, who share in the joy of your vocation. Your parent’s love, devotion and fidelity, and the concord which reigns in your families, is the setting which best enables you to hear God’s call and to accept the gift of a vocation. Live intensely the years of preparation in the seminary, with the guidance and help of your formators, and with the docility and complete trust of the Apostles, who followed Jesus without hesitation. Learn from the Virgin Mary how to accept your vocation without reserve, with joy and generosity. This is what we contemplate and ask in the beautiful prayer of the Angelus, which we are about to recite together, while begging "the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest" (Mt 9:38).
And now, with filial love and in the Valencian language, I turn to the Blessed Virgin, your Patron. «Standing before La Cheperudeta, I want to say to her: ‘Protect us night and day in all our needs, for you, O Virgin Mary, are the Mother of the Forlorn’».

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