Fr. S. Servatius, International Collaborator, CCI is participating in the international retreat for priests from all over the world at Ars, France, home of St. John Vianney as part of the Year for Priests celebrations.
In a video message addressed to more than 1,200 priests from 75 countries participating in the retreat Pope Benedict exhorted the clerics to be joyful.
The theme for the International Year for the Priest retreat is, "The joy of being a priest: Consecrated for the salvation of the world", Catholic News Agency reports.
According to Bishop Guy Bagnard of Belley-Ars, the theme expresses "the positive nature of the meeting and the happiness that priests experience" in their vocation.
"The priest, man of the divine Word and of sacred things, must be today, more than ever, a man of joy and hope," Benedict said in his video messag, ZENIT reports.
"To men who can no longer conceive that God is pure Love, he will always affirm that life is worth living, and that Christ gives it all its meaning because he loves men, all men."
The pope said the patron of parish priests had a "religion of joy," not a "morbid seeking of mortification, as sometimes has been believed."
In that regard, he cited one of St John Vianney's sayings: "Our happiness is too great, no, no, we will never be able to understand it."
Pope Benedict said that it is an awareness of the priest's own weakness that opens him to intimacy with God. And it is God who "gives us strength and joy."
"The more the priest perseveres in friendship with God, the more he will continue the work of the Redeemer on earth," the Holy Father said, again referring to John Vianney. "The priest is no longer for himself, but for all."