LETTER OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL ECCLESIASTICAL ACADEMY
To His Most Reverend Excellency
Msgr. Joseph MARINO
President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy
at the conclusion of the work of the recent Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region, I expressed the desire that the priests preparing for the diplomatic service of the Holy See dedicate one year of their formation to missionary work in a diocese.
I am convinced that such an experience will be useful to all young people who prepare or begin priestly service, but in particular to those who in the future will be called to collaborate with the Pontifical Representatives and, subsequently, may in turn become Envoys. of the Holy See to the particular nations and churches.
In fact, as I have already had occasion to remind the community of this Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy: “The mission that one day you will be called to carry out will take you to all parts of the world. In Europe need to wake up; in Africa, thirsty for reconciliation; in Latin America, hungry for nourishment and interiority; in North America, intent on rediscovering the roots of an identity that cannot be defined starting from exclusion; in Asia and Oceania, challenged by the ability to ferment in diaspora and dialogue with the vastness of ancestral cultures "(June 25, 2015).
In order to face these growing challenges for the Church and for the world positively, future diplomats of the Holy See must acquire, in addition to the solid priestly and pastoral formation, and the specific one offered by this Academy, also a personal mission experience outside the own Diocese of origin, sharing with the missionary Churches a period of journey together with their community, participating in their daily evangelizing activity.
I therefore turn to you, dear Brother, who recently assumed the position of President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, asking you to implement my desire to enrich the curriculum of academic formation with a year dedicated entirely to missionary service in the particular Churches scattered throughout the world. This new experience will take effect starting with the new pupils who will begin their training in the next academic year 2020/2021.
In order to elaborate this project in greater detail and start well, we will first need to work closely with the Secretariat of State and, more precisely, with the Section for the Diplomatic Personnel of the Holy See, as well as with the Pontifical Representatives, who certainly will not fail to provide valuable help in identifying the particular Churches ready to welcome students and in following their experience closely.
I am sure that, having overcome the initial concerns that could arise in the face of this new style of formation for future diplomats of the Holy See, the missionary experience that is to be promoted will be useful not only to young academics, but also to individual Churches with in which they will collaborate and, I hope, will inspire in other priests of the universal Church the desire to make themselves available to carry out a period of missionary service outside their own Diocese.
In conclusion, entrusting to the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, this new modality of the formation of future collaborators in the diplomatic service of the Holy See, I send with affection to you, dear Brother and to the entire community of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, a cordial greeting and my Apostolic Blessing, asking you please to remember me in your prayers.
From the Vatican, 11 February 2020