The five-day congress for the further training of priests came to an end on Saturday with a meeting in the Auditorium Santa Cecilia near the Vatican. Around a thousand priests from more than 60 countries took part in the event. The new internet presence of the Vatican Dicastery for the Clergy was also presented in English and Italian.
From now on, priests from all over the world can present new pastoral care initiatives from their local church there. The clergy authority wants to select some of them as "exemplary examples" and present them on the web. According to the organisers, they will serve to continue the exchange of experiences among priests that began at the congress and to disseminate particularly successful initiatives for contemporary pastoral care.
Cardinal wants to give priests new courage
At the congress, the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Clergy, Cardinal Lazzaro You Heung-sik, emphasised that his aim was to encourage the many priests who feel alone and at a loss "in today's very secularised world". There are currently more than 400,000 Catholic priests worldwide. Their number is growing in Asia and Africa, but is declining in Europe and North America.
The congress focussed on the motivation, further training and future of Catholic priests. The motto of the meeting, taken from the Bible, is: "Rekindle the grace of God that has been given to you." Clergy Prefect You described the meeting in advance as "perhaps a historic event". It was about"determining exactly where we stand and which path we should take forever. Which church do we want, which priests, which training? We will move forward in this spirit". (cbr/KNA)