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Sunday, August 17, 2014
The priest’s place and significance in today’s Church. Final section of an address delivered by Klaus Hemmerle, late bishop of Aachen, Germany, at an international convention for priests, religious and seminarians, at the Vatican on April 30, 1982.

20140817-03“A writing of Chiara Lubich (1) speaks to me of the Church and makes me understand the priest as part of the living reality of the Church. Actually, Chiara Lubich’s meditation speaks of the individual Christian, but it also speaks, indeed even more so, of the Church.

Today, perhaps as never before, the credibility of the priestly service depends on how much the individual priest is rooted in a vital unity, in a form of life in which priestly service becomes a common witness by having the Lord Himself, the One Priest, in our midst. If a priest must specialize in something it must be in communio, unity. The spirituality and lifestyle of the priest is unity.

Living in communion with Jesus among the members of His Church and being a concrete expression of God reaching out to humanity: this is his task. And the accomplishment of this depends decisively on the measure to which Jesus’ Testament, contained in His Priestly Prayer, is fulfilled: That all may be one (cf Jn 17:21). For Jesus Christ is present in the Church and this can be experienced wherever believers are united in His name, whenever they love one another as He loved us (see Jn 13:34). The world will believe when it sees the Church living unity through mutual love.

We said before that today’s world is seeking a mystical dimension and concrete commitment. Very well, to live together with our gaze fixed on Jesus in our midst, in a constant commitment to have Him in our midst and thus to bring Him near and far: this is what it means to be a priest today. The priest today? Is that not saying too little? Perhaps it would be better to say: priests today, united to one another, with Jesus in their midst.”

(1) Chiara Lubich, Essential Writings, New City Press, New York and New City, London (English translation), 2007.

See also: Klaus Hemmerle: The Priest Today (1)   (2)  (3)

Forthcoming event

19 August 2014 – 22 August 2014
A meeting promoted by the Focolare Movement for young priests, deacons, seminarians and young people attracted to the priesthood.