Every year, when we welcome the men that are beginning their journey in the Fraternity, I notice that their expectation is totalizing. They come not just asking to receive the education to become priests. In them there is a desire to enter into a new life, to discover a house that embraces all of their person. We are called to welcome them into our house, that is the Fraternity.
For me it is impossible to think of the task of educating seminarians without thinking of the friendship with the other priests with whom I live. The life with these priests, in this place, is what we introduce to these men whom God entrusts to us.
The task of educating is communal and very concrete. We have punctual moments we live together in which we discuss how to educate the seminary as a whole. Some moments very simple, others more demanding. I think of all the conversations with Fr. Paolo, in which we reflect on the proposals we want to live with the seminarians. The long conversations with Fr. Nicolò and Giovanni judging together the details concerning the life of the seminary, or the reflections with Fr. Michael regarding the studies of the seminarians. I think of the moment when we drink our coffee in the morning, after we have prayed together, when we look at the things to do during the day, deciding which things absolutely need to be worked on and which things, we will have to peacefully put off for another day.
To educate together, however, does not mean only having moments to make decisions or to make judgments together. These are expressions of a unity more profound. You can educate together only if you recognize the service as a common work, more profound then yourself. For this reason, the first mode for educating the seminarians is sustaining a sincere and total adherence to the life of the Fraternity, in which we were first called.
To accompany the journey of the vocation is a vertiginous task. The presence of Fr. Paolo, of Fr. Nicolò, of Fr. Giovanni, and Fr. Michael remind me that I am not the content of the education for the seminarians, that I do offer them only myself. There is an inescapable presence, otherwise the successes would give us motive to become proud and the mistakes would become boulders that prevent us from moving forward. We offer the seminarians that which we were given to live, which, by the grace of God, is greater than ourselves. Fr. Giussani said that a priest should be, above all else, a man. A man realized, that has discovered in Christ the exciting fulfillment of his humanity. For us, the Fraternity is the place where we live this discovery every day. Educating these men to become priests means sharing this life, accompanying them, according to the time of each of them requires, so that they may live the same surprise.
In the photo, a group of seminarians during a retreat in Monchio, in the province of Modena, site of the martyrdom of Blessed Rolando Rivi.