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Pope Francis with seminarians in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace on February 16 (CNS/Vatican Media)

Pope Francis says Catholics – and especially seminarians – should this Lent rediscover the joy of simplicity, pay less attention to their appearance than to their prayer lives and make a special effort to get along with everyone they live with. Source: OSV News.

Progress on the Lenten “path of conversion and renewal,” the Pope said, starts with “allowing oneself to be conquered by renewed awe at God’s love,” the foundation of every vocation.

The Pope met with seminarians and staff from the Cardinal Ascalesi Seminary, an archdiocesan seminary in Naples, which was celebrating its 90th anniversary. Pope Francis did not read the speech he prepared for the occasion, but distributed copies of the text.

Eucharistic adoration and prayerfully reading the Bible are two of the best ways to rediscover God’s love and renew one’s sense of awe at being loved by God, he said.

Lent, the Pope said, also is a time to rediscover “with joy one’s taste for simplicity and avoiding waste,” something which also will help seminarians learn “a lifestyle that will help you to be priests capable of giving of yourselves to others and being attentive to the poorest.”

Be on guard against “the cult of image and appearance,” he said, by “nurturing the inner life.”

And focus on “living in peace and harmony, overcoming divisions and learning to live in fraternity with humility,” the Pope told the seminarians. “Especially today, fraternity is one of the greatest witnesses we can offer the world.”

He told the seminarians that formation is a lifelong process.

“Formation never ends, it lasts a lifetime, and if you stop, you do not stay where you were, but go backward,” he told the students.


Pope Francis gives seminarians surprising new Lenten goals (By Cindy Wooden, CNS via OSV News)