"Look at your Mother and do not be afraid"

Last Friday, 1 February, the Holy Father visited the Pontificio Seminario Romano Maggiore, Rome's Major Seminary, on the occasion of the Seminary's patronal feast day: that of the Madonna della Fiducia, Our Lady, "Mother of Trust". In the picture above, the Holy Father is presiding at Vespers in the main seminary chapel. I think I have got it right when I say that the picture there of the Madonna della Fiducia is a large copy of the small icon which is in the chapel of St Nicholas which the Holy Father also visited:

In his homily at Vespers, the Holy Father spoke not only to the seminarians present but also to their parents, encouraging them to accompany their sons on the adventure of the priestly calling. He spoke of how the seminary should be a place of calm and quiet in order to hear the Lord's "still small voice", and he highlighted the importance of formation in community, anticipating the sacramental fraternity that should characterise the diocesan priesthood. He concluded as follows [my translation]:
"All this reminds us that God calls you to be saints, that sanctity is the secret of the true success of your priestly ministry. From now on, sanctity must constitute the objective of every choice and decision that you make. Entrust this desire and this commitment daily to Mary, Mother of Trust! This title which is so gentle, corresponds to the repeated evangelical invitation "Do not be afraid", addressed by the Angel to the Virgin (Cf Lk 1.29) and then many times by Jesus to the disciples. "Do not be afraid, for I am with you", says the Lord. In the icon of the Mother of Trust, where the Baby Jesus points to his Mother, it seems that Jesus is adding "Look at your Mother and do not be afraid". Dear seminarians, walk through the journey of the seminary with the soul open to the truth, to transparency, to dialogue with those who guide you and this will allow you to respond in a simple and humble way to Him who calls you, liberating you from the risk of realising a project that is just a personal thing of your own."
J P Sonnen visited the seminary on Sunday and has some great photos. See his post Roman Major Seminary and several others posted on 3 February with the same title. (Hint - click on his photos for the massive version!)

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