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VATICAN CITY, APR 21, 2002 (VIS) - At 9 a.m. today, the fourth Sunday of
Easter, the Pope presided at Holy Mass in the Vatican Basilica and
conferred priestly ordination on twenty deacons of the diocese of Rome.

In his homily, the Holy Father urged the new priests to live the mystery
of the Eucharist, about which he said: "Now you are ordained ministers as
well as deacons of the Holy Church of God. But, from today on, by the grace
of the sacrament that you are going to receive, you will be (ministers) in
a new and singular way."

"Jesus," he continued, "does not only make you participants in the
mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven, He also expects from you greater
faithfulness and conformity to the apostolic ministry that has been
entrusted to you. ... He demands from you a more rigorous poverty and the
humility of a servant who makes himself last of all. He asks you to be
perfect 'as your Heavenly Father is perfect'. In a word, the Lord wants you
to be saints."

John Paul II reminded the priests that "another essential aspect of the
mystery ... is the sacrament of reconciliation, intimately related to the
Eucharist." He went on to say: "Be holy ministers of divine mercy. Live
above all for you yourselves the marvelous grace of reconciliation as a
deep obligation and a gift always awaited. ... God counts on the faithful
availability of each one of you in order to work extraordinary miracles of
love in the hearts of believers. ... Prepare yourselves well for this
ministry! It requires an adequate and constant spiritual, theological,
liturgical and pastoral formation. ... For that, the wisdom and the example
of the saints will help you."

Courtesy of: Vatican Information Service/Catholic Information Network