Pope meets third group of priests of the Diocese of Rome

Pope Francis meets some 160 priests who have been ordained for between11 and 39 years at the Salesian Pontifical University.

Jun 12, 2024

Pope Francis meets priests of the Rome Diocese at the Pontifical Salesian University (Vatican Media)

By Salvatore Cernuzio
Pope Francis was welcomed at the Salesian Pontifical University on Tuesday afternoon to the sound of singing and guitar.

The meeting, behind closed doors, took place in the University’s auditorium.  It was the third and final such encounter with priests of the Diocese of Rome, dedicated to those who have been ordained for between 11 and 39 years.

It followed a similar meeting with senior priests with over 40 years of ordination at the parish of San Giuseppe al Trionfale on May 14, and one with the youngest priests with up to 10 years of ordination, at the House of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master, on May 29.

"Pillars" of the Diocese of Rome
The some 160 priests, including parish priests, prefects, chaplains, and directors of Curia offices, were greeted by the Pope with the invitation to freely ask their questions. Those present were described by Bishop Michele Di Tolve as "Pillars" of the Diocese, with their roles in fields of charity, but also in schools, prisons, and hospitals.

Bishop Di Tolve is the delegate for the care of the diaconate, clergy, and religious life, and it was he who introduced the assembly to the Pope after a prayer and the reading of the day's Gospel.

Greetings to the academic community
The Pope entered the Salesian auditorium after spending about fifteen minutes outside greeting members of the academic community: professors (including a 96-year-old priest), students, and collaborators.

Outside the University gates, local residents formed a line to welcome the Pope who took time to wave and smile at everyone.

Speaking briefly to journalists, the Holy Father said that at the G7 - where he will participate on June 14 - he will talk about Artificial Intelligence and peace, and will have bilateral talks with leaders present at the Summit taking place in Borgo Egnazia, in the southern Italian Puglia region.

After shaking hands with the students who had been waiting to greet him along the entrance to the venue, he exchanged cordial words with Don Cesare and joked with a group of Argentinians.

In the courtyard, he was welcomed by the Vicegerent, Monsignor Baldo Reina and Cardinal Ángel Fernández Artime, the major rector of the Salesian Congregation, who introduced him to some of the attendees.

Dialogue with the priests
Pope Francis entered the meeting with the priests at around 4.20 pm local time to reflect on the difficulties of the time  - marked by the consequences of the pandemic, increasing poverty, war, and migrations, youth emergencies – transforming the very city into "mission territory."--Vatican News

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