– Celebrating Mass in the Bangladeshi capital on Friday, Pope Francis ordained 16 men to the priesthood.
“Beloved brothers and sisters: because these our sons … are now to be advanced to the Order of priests, consider carefully the nature of the rank in the Church to which they are about to be raised,” he exhorted the crowd in his homily, which is that provided in the Roman Pontifical.
The Dec. 1 Mass was said at Suhrawardy Udyan, a park and national memorial in Dhaka.
“Our great Priest himself, Jesus Christ, chose certain disciples to carry out publicly in his name, and on behalf of mankind, a priestly office in the Church … priests are established co-workers of the Order of Bishops, with whom they are joined in the priestly office and with whom they are called to the service of the people of God,” the pope said.
“After mature deliberation, these, our brothers, are now to be ordained to the priesthood in the Order of the presbyterate, so as to serve Christ the Teacher, Priest, and Shepherd, by whose ministry his body, that is, the Church, is built and grows into the people of God, a holy temple.”
He reflected that the newly ordained would be consecrated “to preach the Gospel, to shepherd God’s people, and to celebrate the sacred Liturgy, especially the Lord’s sacrifice.”
Turning to those about to be ordained, he said: “For your part, you will exercise the sacred duty of teaching in the name of Christ the Teacher. Impart to everyone the word of God which you have received with joy. 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.
“Let the holiness of your lives be a delightful fragrance to Christ’s faithful, so that by word and example you may build up the house which is God’s Church,” he added.
“Likewise you will exercise in Christ the office of sanctifying. For 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. Understand, therefore, what you do and imitate what you celebrate. As celebrants of the mystery of the Lord’s death and resurrection, strive to put to death whatever in your members is sinful and to walk in newness of life.”
Referring to their duties in the sacraments and in the recitation of the Divine Office, he called them to remember “that you are taken from among men and appointed on their behalf for those things that pertain to God. Therefore, carry out the ministry of Christ the Priest with constant joy and genuine love, attending not to your own concerns but to those of Jesus Christ.
“Finally, dear sons, exercising for your part the office of Christ, Head and Shepherd, while united with the Bishop and subject to him, strive to bring the faithful together into one family, so that you may lead them to God the Father through Christ in the Holy Spirit. Keep always before your eyes 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.”
Having finished the exemplar homily from the Pontifical, Francis then addressed extemporaneously the crowd attending the Mass.
“Thank you for your generosity,” he told them. “This shows the love you have for the Church. This shows the love you have for Jesus Christ. Thank you all. Thank you all for your generosity. Thank you for your faithfulness.
“Today I ask you in a special way always to pray for these new priests … the People of God sustain their priests with prayer. Your responsibility is to sustain your priests.
“Don’t get tired of sustaining your priests with prayer. I know you will do this.”