Greeting seminarians and staff on Friday, Pope Francis began by reflecting on the figure of St Maron and invited them to follow the example of this Saint’s qualities of faith and love which, he said, were pure sources for today’s spiritually thirsty people.
Importance of formation
In his discourse to the seminarians gathered, the Pope warned against “the risk of being absorbed by the culture of the provisional and appearance. He added that these years of study were an opportunity to absorb "the antibodies against worldliness and mediocrity".
The Pontiff also remarked that these years of formation were like a "Roman gym", where, he said there was the help of God and staff to accompany them.
Lebanon and the Middle East
Pope Francis noted that those studying for the priesthood at the college were called to live at a time of suffering and dangers, but also in a time full of hope. “The people who will be entrusted to you, he said, disoriented by the instability that unfortunately continues to affect the Middle East”, will look to you as pastors for consolation.
Peace and Youth
During his speech the Pope told those present that he wanted to share two wishes with them, the first being the desire for peace.
Quoting St John Paul II, the Pope expressed the hope that in their land of Lebanon these seminarians would work to ensure that the country would always correspond "to its vocation of being a light for the peoples of the region and a sign of peace that comes from God" .
The second wish, he said, concerned young people, adding that they needed to be accompanied with trust and patience.
Young people, Pope Francis underlined “are the promise of the future, the most serious investment for your ministry.”
In conclusion the Pope entrusted to this Maronite community the protection of Our Lady of Lebanon and their great saints.