By Francesca Merlo
In his prepared remarks, Pope Francis commemorated three fundamental aspects of Father Pino Puglisi’s priesthood, in this way, he explained the importance of bringing to life what is preached using “three simple verbs”.
The first verb is “to celebrate”, began Pope Francis. “Take and eat: this is my Body given up for you”. He explained that these words of Jesus, recited today like any other day, “must not remain on the altar.”
“They must be carried into life” because they remind us that the priest is a man who offers his whole life for others. “Ours, dear priests, is not a career, but a gift of self; it is not a job, but a mission. Each day, with no holidays, with no rest”. “This”, said Pope Francis, “is how Father Pino lived”.
He said priests share with the world the peace Jesus gives. The Pope said priests bring “understanding where there is discord, harmony where there is dispute and serenity where there is hostility”. The priest is also called to “bring to life” the words: “I absolve you from all your sins”, making him a “man of forgiveness”.
“The gym in which the priest trains to become a man of forgiveness is the seminary... For the consecrated religious it is in the community”, said Pope Francis. “It is there”, he said, that the “desire to unite needs to be cultivated.”
“Think of Father Pino”, said Pope Francis, “who always made himself available to everyone and waited for all with an open heart - even the delinquent.”
The second verb is “to accompany”. Pope Francis said accompanying “is the keystone to being a priest today”. He remembered that Father Pino “spoke to young people more than speaking of young people.”. “Drawing out of them the truest questions, and the most beautiful answers.” This, Pope Francis said is a mission that “stems from patience, listening, and from having the heart of a father”.
Pope Francis briefly addressed women religious. He told them that their mission is an important one, because “the Church is a Mother, and her way of accompanying must always have a maternal trace to it”. So Pope Francis invited women religious to “reveal the Church’s maternal face.”
Pope Francis said the final verb is “to bear witness”, which, he said, “concerns us all”. He said that in Pino Puglisi’s home, a “genuine simplicity stands out”. The Pope explained that Father Pino’s simple life is “the eloquent sign of a life consecrated to the Lord, one that seeks neither consolation nor glory from the world”.
He said that “Life speaks louder than words” and that we “serve in simplicity”.
Finally, Pope Francis invited the men and women religious, seminarians and clergy of Palermo to “bear witness to hope”. “The person who witnesses to hope does not indicate what hope is”, the Pope said, “but who hope is. Christ is hope”.