Pope Francis: lunch with Rome priests on Holy Thursday
(Vatican Radio) In what has now become a tradition begun by Pope Francis himself three years ago, the Holy Father shared lunch with a group of priests on Holy Thursday 2 April, following the Eucharistic celebration in St. Peter’s Basilica. The bishop of Rome met nine parish priests of the diocese and the superior of one religious community at the home of Archbishop Angelo Becciu, Substitute Secretary of State, and spent about an hour and a half with them.
“How’s the tiredness going?” the Pope asked the priests, alluding to the theme of his homily at the Chrism mass just before their meeting.
Fr. Antonio Fois of the Rome parish of Saints Aquila and Priscilla, told one Italian news agency that the Pope asked him and the other priests present to share with him some of the good things they are doing in their pastoral work. The Pope was particularly interested in hearing about how the priests prepared young people for Confirmation and matrimony and about their work with the elderly and youth.
“He repeated to us that pastoral activities are tiring – that’s natural,” Fr. Antonio said. “Being pastors is tiring but tiredness repays you; the joy of being at the service of the Gospel repays you.”
Pope Francis, said Fr. Antoinio, also spoke about the importance of priestly formation and discernment and the need to “choose pastors well.”
Fr. Antonio added that for this reason, their lunch with the Pope was “very restful: we were together as brothers, as parish priests. We spoke about our communities and he listened to us and we could see he was taking in our experiences… it was a dialogue just as between father and sons and this very much moved us.”
“It was wonderful,” said Fr. Antoinio, “to feel loved by your own bishop – this too repays any tiredness.”