In The Pope Video for June 2019, Pope Francis speaks to all Catholics, inviting them to look around and observe with an open heart each of the priests in their communities. Holiness always attracts less attention than sin and scandal.
The hard work carried out by priests isn’t always perfect, but it involves a daily, humble, and joyful effort through which they seek to build up the community and to draw closer to the members of the people of God. These priests want to imitate Jesus’ lifestyle, being close to the people and being available to help and serve them, especially those who are poorest. In the words of the Holy Father, “A servant of life, he walks with the heart and pace of the poor; he is enriched by being with them.”
Nikolaas Sintobin SJ, a Flemish Jesuit and internet pastor, features in this month’s Pope Video. He has worked with the Irish Jesuits as part of Inter-Provincial collaboration between Ireland, Britain and the Low Countries. He is specialized in Ignatian spirituality and pedagogy and runs the Seeing more website, an ever growing collection of YouTube-films: short, surprising videos which invite people to explore their inner experiences. He is shown in the video at 0:35 seconds speaking to a parishioner in a church.
Francis gives thanks for the example of priests like Fr Sintobin, who, with their availability and their closeness to their flock, bear witness to the love of Christ. The Pope invites the faithful to pray for them, that “through the modesty and humility of their lives,” they may “commit themselves actively to solidarity with those who are the most poor.”
Fr. Frédéric Fornos, SJ, International Director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (which includes the Eucharistic Youth Movement), adds: “Prayer and love for Jesus Christ open our lives to be able to savour the Gospel. When we hear the word of the Lord, near to his heart, our desire to follow him grows, along with our desire to imitate his lifestyle, which is one of solidarity towards those who are poorest.” He calls to mind what Bergoglio wrote when he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, regarding the importance of praying courageously for the people of God: “Do I pray? Do we—priests and consecrated men and women—pray? Do we do it enough when its needed? (…) When we pray, we’re fighting for our people” (July 29, 2007).