The book Pope Francis gave to priests at the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday The book Pope Francis gave to priests at the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday 

Pope Francis gives a book to priests present at Chrism Mass

Pope Francis gives an Italian book to priests present at the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, entitled, “Witnesses, Not Officials", in which Bishop François-Xavier Bustillo of Ajaccio offers guidance to priests ministering in today's ever-changing world.

By Vatican News staff reporter

The book in Italian Pope Francis gave as a gift to priests gathered for Holy Thursday's Chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica features biblical and philosophical citations, reflections on current events and the Papal Magisterium, using modern language and sharing rich anecdotes.

It offers ideas for pastoral ministry, and calls attention to old and new challenges: from voyeurism in social media to the risk of transforming the parish into just an administrative office.

Modesty, boredom, and pandemic habits

The author of the book also quotes a range of people, from Kierkegaard, Camus, Nelson Mandela to Martin Luther King, as well as a famous character in an Italian cartoon.

It deals with topics such as modesty and paternity, and boredom and political strategies. It focuses on current events, including new habits that have come from the pandemic.

All is enriched with biblical citations, Church teachings, and in particular the magisterium of Benedict XVI and Francis, in order to deepen the very essence of the priesthood and its foundation, vocation and mission. It looks at the key challenges facing priestly ministry, starting with that of always being "witnesses" and "bearers of life." 

Analysis of current reality

Bishops François-Xavier Bustillo, a Conventual Franciscan, has been Bishop of Ajaccio, Corsica, since 2021.

His book offers an interesting and clear analysis of reality today, underscoring as the book's title notes, the need to be authentic Gospel witnesses in today's world, and to overcome the risk of being perceived only in an official authority-type capacity rather than a pastoral ministerial role.

With a modern flair, easy-to-understand language, and a wealth of anecdotes, Bishop Bustillo, a theologian and pastor, offers a profound meditation on the ever-complex topic of the challenges facing the priesthood today in light of the modern-day transformations, often revolutionary, running fast in today's world.


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14 April 2022, 14:44