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60 years to the day, Pope Benedict XVI Reflects On His Sixty Years of Priesthood

By Noreen Daly

On the Feast of the Apostles and Martyrs, Peter and Paul, the Successor of Peter, Pope Benedict XVI, celebrated his sixtieth anniversary of his ordination to the Holy Priesthood. In his homily, Pope Benedict wrote, "Dear Brothers and Sisters, 'Non iam dicam servos, sed amicos' - 'I no longer call you servants, but friends' (Jn 15:15).

At these words, Pope Benedict reflects, "At that moment I knew deep down that these words were no mere formality, nor were they simply a quotation from Scripture." The relationship the young Fr. Joseph Ratzinger entered upon at the moment can be likened to the relationship Jesus had to the Apostles in the Upper Room; they came to know each other "in a very special way."

Furthermore, according to the liturgical practice at the time, upon the words "I no longer call you servants, but friends" conferred onto a newly-ordained priests the authority to forgive sins. Pope Benedict continues, ""By giving me authority to forgive sins, He lets me look down into the abyss of man, into the immensity of his suffering for us men, and this enables me to sense the immensity of his love."" Pope Benedict demonstrates his deep love for his special relationship with the Lord and his devotion to using his authority to spread Christ''s love to all.

On this very special day, the Holy Father, who sits in the chair of St. Peter, celebrates the anniversary of his ordination on the feast of St. Peter. Today, let us remember the intentions of this beloved shepherd and all other young priests who may one day be called to lead the Church.

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