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Priestly joy is a 'priceless treasure,' Pope tells priests

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At this morning's Chrism Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, Pope Francis told priests to "anoint with the oil of gladness" and said that members of the clergy are "useless" unless they truly find joy in their vocation and happiness within the grace of God. The Chrism Mass is held each year during Holy Week in Catholic dioceses around the world. In Rome, the Chrism Mass is held on the traditional day, Holy Thursday, and at the traditional time, in the morning. The Mass of Chrism traditionally focuses on the priesthood, since Christ instituted the priesthood on Holy Thursday, the day before his suffering and death. Traditionally, all of the priests of a given diocese are present with their bishop as he blesses the sacred oils of anointing-the Sacred Chrism, the oil of Catechumens, and the oil of the Infirm, used to anoint the sick and the dying.

The Pope said that joy in one's priesthood “is a priceless treasure, not only for the priest himself but for the entire faithful people of God.”

“I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that the priest is very little indeed: the incomparable grandeur of the gift granted us for the ministry sets us among the least of men. The priest is the poorest of men unless Jesus enriches him by his poverty, the most useless of servants unless Jesus calls him his friend, the most ignorant of men unless Jesus patiently teaches him as he did Peter, the frailest of Christians unless the Good Shepherd strengthens him in the midst of the flock," the Holy Father preaches saying "no one is more 'little' than a priest left to his own devices."

The Pope said that priests should seek the intercessory protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and should reflect upon her words in the Magnificat. “I am a priest because he has regarded my littleness, in that littleness we find our joy," said Francis.

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