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Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Cardinal Hoyos and priestly identity

I am on the email list for the Congregation for the Clergy. I recommend this to priests; they only send occasional emails but they supply documents of conferences and other materials that are always worth reading. Today they sent out a Letter to Priests by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos. This has been sent on the occasion of the conclusion of his term as prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy. Here is the text:
Vatican City, 2 December 2006

My Dear Brother Priests,

At the conclusion of my term as Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, I would like to renew to you an expression of my most profound affection in the Lord.

From the very moment which I accepted this appointment in July 1996, I was conscience of my limitations, but I offered the Lord with joy and full confidence, all my insufficiency to faithfully serve the Holy Father, collaborating in his zealous care for the priests, deacons and catechists of the entire world. It is true that I could not have been more gratified to serve Christ, my Lord. It has been an unmerited privilege for me to be able to collaborate directly with the Successor of St. Peter in his service of love for the Clergy.

In these years I have been a witness to the tremendous work accomplished by priests in every corner of the world: from the vast territories of mission countries to the most developed urban centers.

I wanted to see my Lord Jesus in every one of you. I rejoiced to see, in the fullness of paschal joy, the resurrected Jesus who works in us; He who deigned to choose us, watching over us with love having predestined us from our mothers’ womb.

I was able to live close to the remarkable deeds of those men – and there are thousands – who have left the paths of the world to follow the Master, those who have configured themselves ontologically to the Most High and Eternal Priesthood.

I am grateful to my fellow priests for having allowed me to experience the consoling joy of seeing their salvific work in the midst of the most difficult circumstances.
We are proud to have seen fellow priests, many of them willing to suffer martyrdom, as irrefutable witnesses to the transcendence, not a few having already been elevated to the glory of the altars.

My brotherly exhortation is to invite you to maintain a clear priestly identity, so that in the darkness of this hour of pleasure and of death, of rebellion and of vain illusion, you shine the presence of Christ, forged as a living image in our lives. The battle for our identity is our personal incitement to sanctity, in the ongoing task that Christ may be forged in us.

May Mary, the Mother of Our Lord, be our Door which is always open to reach Him through our weakness and misery, through our joy of living with Him, through our faith and our hope to have Him as the Truth and the Way, through our love to have in Him the life of love of the Father and the Spirit.

Thank you, beloved brothers for your help and your generous witness.

We remain united in the Most Holy Eucharist and the work of the Kingdom.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos
I for one would like to say "Thank you, Your Eminence for all the work that you have done at the Congregation, for your encouragement of traditional clergy, for your vigilance and for your teaching. May God bless you."
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