Learn to love Mary, our heavenly Mother
Holy Father addresses Pontifical Roman Major Seminary
during visit on feast of Our Lady of Trust
On Saturday, 4 March, the Holy Father visited the Pontifical
Roman Major Seminary for its patronal feast day of Our Lady of Trust. The Pope
led the recitation of the Rosary and addressed the seminary community, saying to
the students in particular: "Love Mary, our heavenly Mother, during
the years of your formation and those of your generous and holy ministry, so
that one day you may honour her in heaven". Here is a translation of his
address, which was given in Italian.
1. I am always delighted to return to the Roman Seminary, built in the shadow of
the cathedral of Rome. I come with deeper emotion during this Jubilee Year which
brings us into the third millennium. I greet you all, the Rector, teachers,
seminarians, young people and friends. Thank you for your cordial welcome!
I extend a special greeting to the Cardinal Vicar and to the Episcopal Board,
the parish priests and the diocesan and parish co-workers, who collaborate with
the seminary in a generous effort to give new life to the pastoral care of
2. Together we have contemplated the beginning of salvation history in the
joyful mysteries of the Rosary. Mary, St Bernard reminds us, "believes,
trusts and accepts" (Homily, IV, 8). Through her example and
intercession, we too learn to believe, to trust and to receive the abundant
gifts of grace which the Lord wants to lavish upon us. In the history of
individuals and peoples, it is Mary who discloses God's pedagogy to our
communities and to the whole Church. She makes us responsive to faith, trust,
and humble acceptance.
Dear seminarians, love Mary, our heavenly Mother, during the years of your
formation and those of your generous and holy ministry, so that one day you may
honour her in heaven. Taking part in today's celebration of Our Lady of Trust
are all the friends of the seminary and especially the young people who are
walking with you and who look to you, because they too want to know the secret
of your life. May your example help many young people overcome the thousand
fears of life and to open themselves to trust and commitment. Today, in a
certain way, is a celebration for the entire diocesan community, particularly
for those parishes and pastoral situations where you work and where your
"yes" to the Lord is tested and strengthened.
3. In the Holy Rosary we have seen Mary listening to God and opening herself to
conversation with him. In her interior attitude we see our model of prayer. She
teaches us that to pray we must enter our own room and, after closing the door,
speak to the Father in secret. Mary knows well that only the Father's eyes see
in secret and cross the threshold of every human heart (cf. Mt 6: 5-6). She
knows well that only an intimate encounter with the heavenly Father communicates
that fire of love which spurs us to come out of our room and follow Christ's
call. Mary is a model of wisdom and faith. In waiting, she does not take her
eyes off the Bridegroom who comes; indeed, she wisely provides oil for the lamp
of faith in the night of fear, in order to cross the threshold of nuptial joy
(cf. Mt 25: 1-13).
Dear young seminarians, learn from Our Lady of Trust how to become trusting and
vigilant servants of the Gospel as you await the Lord's coming in glory. May
Mary teach you to grow in your vocation and to form the heart of her Son within
you. May her example prompt you to transform your lives into generosity to the
poor (cf. 1 Jn 3: 17) and into availability to the guests who arrive at
inconvenient times (cf. Lk 11: 5-8). Accompanied by her, you too will
experience the joyful confidence of the Apostles who, in obeying God rather than
men, discovered how the Word of God overcomes the locked doors of every prison
(cf. Acts 5: 17-25) or any form of discrimination.
4. Salve radix, salve porta, ex qua mundo lux est orta!
Dear friends, throughout the Holy Year let us continue to entrust our future
commitments to Mary. May Our Lady of Trust guide the seminary and accompany the
diocesan community to experience the Living One, who vanquishes fear and gives
peace (cf. Jn 20: 19). May she help you to imitate the Good Samaritan, who
pours oil and wine over the wounds of those who live in Rome or who come to Rome
from every part of the world (cf. Lk 10: 29-36). May Mary teach gladness of
spirit to every young man who crosses the threshold of the seminary.
May the olive tree which I have just blessed in the portico be for the seminary
the sign of service to vocations. Jesus Christ is the centre of every vocation.
He is the Teacher in whose shadow you will pause to listen: he is the
suffering Servant who takes you with him into Gethsemane when men abandon you.
Jesus is the root and the tree on which we are grafted like olive branches made
fruitful by the Cross. From the Lord we receive our vocation, like oil scented
with new life. May the Father, who anointed his Son Jesus with the oil of
gladness (cf. Heb 1: 5-14), make the heads of each of you shine with the
oil of holiness.
Have a good Holy Year! May the Lord grant many vocations, like olive shoots
around the table! I bless you all with great affection.
The Holy Father then spoke extemporaneously to the seminary community:
I would like to thank you all for your hospitality. Visiting the Roman Seminary
in the Jubilee Year, I again thought of the one I left so many years ago:
the seminary in Kraków.
I thought: in Kraków I could talk to every seminarian; in Rome, I can
only extend my hand to each seminarian. But thanks be to God for the Cardinal
Vicar of the Diocese of Rome! To him I leave the pleasure of conversing with
you. The Cardinal tells me that he has many conversations with you. This is
The Holy Year has begun very well. It has exceeded expectations. This is what we
have seen in the first days, the first weeks, the first two months.
I also hope that you, seminarians of Rome's Major Seminary, can make the most of
this year of grace, and with faith pass through the Holy Door of St Peter's,
which leads us symbolically to salvation.
So, have a good Jubilee Year, a good Holy Year, a good year 2000, a good
academic year and a good year at the seminary!