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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pope to Filipino Bishops: Urge more youth into priesthood

From the Inquirer Global Nation

By Jocelyn Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Saying that the Philippines needed more priests, Pope Benedict XVI has advised visiting bishops from Visayas and the Bicol region to persevere in their pastoral care for young Filipinos to encourage them to heed the call to priesthood.

He also encouraged them to carry on reminding the Filipino youth that "true friendship" with God, not the world's "glamour" will satiate their aspiration for happiness.

The Holy Father made the statement during the ad limina visit of bishops from Visayas and Bicol in Rome on Saturday. His statement was posted Monday on CBCP News, the official news service of the Church hierarchy.

In addressing the Filipino prelates, the Pope acknowledged that despite a rise in the number of Catholic priests around the world, "more dedicated servants of Christ" were still needed in the Philippines, a mainly Roman Catholic nation, to meet the needs of its growing Catholic population.

Based on official Church figures in 2009, the number of Catholic priests around the world grew by 5,000 since 1999.

"With you, I pray that young Filipinos who feel called to priesthood and the religious life will respond generously to the promptings of the Spirit," stated the Pope.

He also exhorted the Filipino prelates to offer these young vocations a "well-developed and carefully applied plan of integral formation" to advance their initial tendency towards priesthood and their faith to reach full spiritual and human maturity.

"I encourage you to continue to remind young people that the glamour of this world will not satisfy their natural desire for happiness," added the Pope.

"Only true friendship with God will break the bonds of loneliness from which our fragile humanity suffers and will establish a true and lasting communion with others, a spiritual bond that will readily prompt within us the wish to serve the needs of those we love in Christ," he said.

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