Monday, September 24, 2007

Oremus

Busy bishops must put prayer at top of daily agenda, pope says

By Catholic News Service

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) -- Busy bishops need to put prayer and reflection at the top of their daily agenda, Pope Benedict XVI told a group of recently ordained bishops.

Bishops face many demands and time-consuming tasks and duties, "but the top priority in the life of a successor of the apostles must be reserved for God," he said.

The pope's remarks came during a Sept. 22 audience at the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome. He spoke to more than 100 bishops who were attending a meeting in Rome for bishops ordained in the last year.

A deeply spiritual and rich prayer life will help the bishop stay close to and imitate Christ, the pope said. It will also help him "become sensitive and merciful toward everyone" and help him discern others' real needs, he said.

"Prayer teaches love and opens the heart to pastoral charity," enabling the bishop to welcome everyone who turns to him, he said.

Pope Benedict asked the bishops to pay special attention to their priests in their prayers.

Priests will feel encouraged knowing that their bishop is "close to them in prayer, affection, and is always ready to receive, listen to, support and encourage" them, he said.

The pope urged bishops to "be men of prayer," adding that "it is from prayer that a bishop draws light, strength and comfort for his pastoral activity."

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