Pope: Good priests bring joy, comfort to those in need

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis called on the world’s priests to bring the healing power of God’s grace to everyone in need, to stay close to the marginalized and to be “shepherds living with the smell of the sheep.”

Those priests “who do not go out of themselves” by being mediators between God and men can “gradually become intermediaries, managers,” he said March 28 during the chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

When a priest “doesn’t put his own skin and own heart on the line, he never hears a warm, heartfelt word of thanks” from those he has helped, the pope said in his homily.

“This is precisely the reason why some priests grow dissatisfied, lose heart and become in a sense collectors of antiquities or novelties — instead of being shepherds living with ‘the smell of the sheep,'” he said.

“This is what I am asking you,” he said with emphasis, looking up from his prepared text, “be shepherds with the smell of sheep,” so that people can sense the priest is not just concerned with his own congregation, but is also a fisher of men.

Presiding over the first of two Holy Thursday liturgies, Pope Francis blessed the oils that will be used in the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, ordination and the anointing of the sick.

Surrounded by more than 1,600 priests, bishops and cardinals, Pope Francis led them in a renewal in their priestly promises.

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