by Devin Watkins
Much to the joy of the Catholic community of Bangladesh, Pope Francis conferred the rite of Holy Orders on 16 of their sons at a special Mass in Dhaka’s Suhrawardy Udyan Park.
In his homily, the Holy Father had words of encouragement and exhortation for these newly-ordained priests.
Nourishment for God’s people
He told them to put into practice the law of the Lord upon which they meditate.
“Meditating on the law of the Lord, see that you believe what you read, that you teach what you believe, and that you practice what you teach,” he said.
This, he said, would make them into “nourishment for the people of God.”
Pope Francis said that, while God had made the entire holy people a royal priesthood, Jesus himself “chose certain disciples to carry out publicly in his name, and on behalf of mankind, a priestly office in the Church.”
Co-workers of bishops
As priests, he said, they are especially meant to be co-workers of the local bishop.
Pope Francis said the young priests will exercise “the sacred duty of teaching in the name of Christ the Teacher” and share the word of God they have received with joy.
He said they are called to sanctify God’s people in Christ.
“By your ministry the spiritual sacrifice of the faithful will be made perfect, being united to the sacrifice of Christ, which will be offered through your hands in an unbloody way on the altar, in union with the faithful, in the celebration of the sacraments,” he said.
Finally, the Holy Father told the 16 newly-ordained Bangladeshi priests to focus on the example of the Good Shepherd, “who came not to be served but to serve, and who came to seek out and save what was lost.”