Pope Francis Tells Seminarians and Priests "This is your vocation: to lead the way with the Lord, the love of the Lord. Being careful not to fall into careerism..." FULL TEXT

This morning, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience the seminarians of the dioceses of Calabria and addressed them with the following address:
Speech of the Holy Father
Dear Brother Bishops,
Dear Formators and Seminarians, good morning!
I thank the Calabrian Episcopal Conference for having wanted this pilgrimage to Rome with the seminarians and I am happy to welcome you. Thanks to S.E. Mons. Fortunato Morrone for the words he addressed to me. I greet the Rectors, the Spiritual Fathers and the Formators and the Bishops, of course: you have been entrusted with an important task, which requires the daily effort of accompaniment and discernment; thank you for all the work, sometimes hidden and painful, that you do for the seminarians. Thank you!
Even if your land sometimes hits the headlines bringing old and new wounds to light, I like to remind you that you are children of the ancient Greek civilization and still today you keep cultural and spiritual treasures that unite the East and the West. Homer, in the Odyssey, narrates that Ulysses, towards the end of his journey, landed on a strip of land from which he could admire the beauty of two seas. This brings to mind your land, a gem set between the Tyrrhenian and Ionian seas. And it also shines as a place of spirituality, which includes important sanctuaries, figures of saints and hermits, as well as the presence of the Greek-Byzantine community. However, this religious heritage would risk remaining only a beautiful past to be admired, if there were not still today, on your part, a renewed common commitment to promote evangelization and priestly formation.
I would like to start from a word taken from the Gospel of John: "They stayed with him" (Jn 1:39). It refers to the first disciples who follow Jesus and reminds us that this is the foundation of everything: to remain with the Lord and place Him at the foundation of our ministry; otherwise we will seek above all ourselves and, while committing ourselves to apparently good things, it will be to fill the void we have inside. Thus prayed an illustrious figure of your land, the Servant of God Cassiodorus: «All things fall into ruin that move away from the love of your majesty. To love you is to save yourself [...] to have lost you is to die» (Cassiodoro, De anima, XVIII). This is your vocation: to lead the way with the Lord, the love of the Lord. Being careful not to fall into careerism, which is a plague, careerism is one of the ugliest forms of worldliness that we clerics can have.
However, I would like to dwell on the initial question that Jesus addresses to the two disciples when he realizes they are following him: "What are you looking for?" (v. 38). Sometimes we look for an easy "recipe", instead Jesus begins with a question that invites us to look within, to verify the reasons for our journey. And today I would like to ask you this question.
First of all to the seminarians: what are you looking for? What is the desire that prompted you to go out to meet the Lord and to follow him on the path of the priesthood? What are you looking for in Seminary? And what are you looking for in the priesthood? We have to ask ourselves this, because it sometimes happens that "behind appearances of religiosity and even of love for the Church", in reality we seek "human glory and personal well-being" (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 93). It is very sad when you find priests who are functionaries, who have forgotten that they are pastors of the people and have turned into state clerics, like those of the French courts, "monsieur l'Abbé", were state clerics. It is bad when the priestly sense is lost. Perhaps we seek the priestly ministry as a refuge to hide behind or a role to gain prestige, instead of wishing to be pastors with the same compassionate and merciful heart of Christ. I ask you with the same words of one of your Yearbooks: do you want to be clerical priests who do not know how to knead with the clay of suffering humanity, or to be like Jesus, a sign of the Father's tenderness? Here, let's remember this: the Seminar is the time in which to make truths with ourselves, dropping the masks, the tricks, the appearances. And in this process of discernment, let yourself be worked by the Lord, who will make you pastors according to his heart. Because the opposite is dressing up, wearing make-up, appearing, which is proper to officials, not to pastors of the people but to state clerics.
The question of Jesus, however, would like to also address it to the bishop's brothers: what are you looking for? What do you want for the future of your land, which church do you dream of? And which figure of priest imagine for your people? Why are you responsible for the formation of these guys: with which figure are you forming them? This discernment is today more than ever necessary, because in the time in which a certain Christianity of the past has passed, a new ecclesial season has opened before us, which has requested and still requires a reflection also on the figure and the priest's Ministry. We can no longer think of it as a solitary shepherd, closed in the parish enclosure or in groups of closed shepherds; It is necessary to combine the forces and common the ideas, hearts, to face some pastoral challenges that are now transversal to all diocesan churches of a region. I think, for example, of the evangelization of young people; to Christian initiation paths; to popular piety - you have a rich popular piety - which needs unitary choices inspired by the Gospel; But I also think of the needs of charity and the promotion of the culture of legality. The latter underlines it: the culture of legality. How are your courts go? How is the exercise of justice in your diocese?
All this calls to form priests who, although coming from its own contexts, know how to cultivate a common vision of the territory and have a human, spiritual and unitary theological formation. Therefore, I would like to ask you bishops to make a clear choice on priestly formation: to direct all human, spiritual and theological energies in a single seminary. I say unique. They can be two but added: orient towards unity, with all the variables that can be there but to get there. This does not mean annihilating the seminary; You see how to do this unit. It is not a logistical or merely numerical choice, but aimed at maturing together an ecclesial vision and a horizon of priestly life, instead of dispersing the forces multiplying the places of formation and keeping small realities with few seminarians standing. A seminary of 4, 5, 10 is not a seminary, seminarians are not formed; A seminary of 100 is anonymous, it does not form the seminarians ... it takes small communities, even inside a large seminary, or a human -size seminary; that it is the reflection of the presbytery college. It is not easy to make discernment, not easy. But you have to do and you have to make decisions on this. It will not be Rome to tell you what you have to do, because you have charisma. We give ideas, guidelines, advice, but you have the charisma, you have the Holy Spirit for this. If Rome began to make decisions, it would be a slap in the Holy Spirit, who works in particular churches.
This process is starting in many parts of the world and it is natural that there is some resistance and some effort in taking this step. But remember that attachment to our history and the significant places of our tradition must not prevent the novelty of the spirit from tracing paths to go, especially when the Church's journey requires it. The Lord wonders the attitude of vigilance, because it does not happen to us "as to Noah's days", when people, all intent on things ever, did not realize that the flood came (cf. Lk 17,26-27). We need open eyes and careful heart to grasp the signs of the times and look forward! I recommend to everyone, not only to the bishops, I recommend that you discern what the Holy Spirit wants for your churches. And the bishops must do this - the decision -, but you have to do it all to tell the bishops what you feel and how, the ideas ... it is the whole body of the diocese that must help the bishop in this discernment. Then he takes responsibility for the decision.
I say this, especially to you Bishops, who dream of the good of your land and who have the formation of future priests at heart: please, do not let yourselves be paralyzed by nostalgia and do not remain prisoners of provincialisms which do so much harm! And you, Bishops emeritus, do not let your support for this process be lacking in silence and prayer. I say in silence and in prayer because, when a Pastor has concluded his mandate, his spiritual profile emerges and the way in which he has served the Church: one can see if he has learned to say goodbye "by stripping off ... of the claim to be indispensable" (Let . ap. Learning to say goodbye), or if it continues to look for spaces and to condition the journey of the diocese. Those who are emeritus are called to serve the Church with gratitude in the way that befits their status. It's not easy to say goodbye; everyone requires an effort to say goodbye. I wrote a letter on the subject that began with these words: "Learning to say goodbye", without snooping again, learning to say goodbye and maintaining that absent presence, that distant presence, by which one knows that the Emeritus is there but pray for the church, it's nearby but doesn't enter the game. It's not easy. It is a grace of the Spirit to learn to say goodbye.
Dear friends, just like today, 27 March 1416, your Patron Saint, Francis of Paola was born: it is wonderful that you are here on this very date! On his deathbed he told his brothers that he had no treasure to leave and exhorted them: "Love one another and do all your things in charity". This is what Calabria expects of you: that everything be done in charity, in unity, in fraternity. And I would like to say one thing: be careful of the courts, because corruption often arises there. Be careful, be careful of the courts. And that there is also a change in the courts.
Thank you for your visit. You are a beautiful community and I encourage you to be the leaven of the Gospel and a living sign of hope for your land. Walk together, and formation may be in a single Seminar, or in twos or threes, but together, not isolated in small groups. This word "together" is the message, you who are on this road can see how to make the whole; but together, not isolated, not as different tribes, together, in the way you choose. Be courageous in this decision, be courageous! One thing that strikes me here in Rome, especially when I have to go to the airport, is passing in front of those formation houses which in a certain period – I am speaking of the 60s, 70s –, the period in which vocations flourished, were the big houses of formation: today they are all empty. It's difficult. Have a style of formation that is always alive and that does not depend on exteriority but on the strength of the Holy Spirit; and on this you make decisions boldly, boldly. The Lord will always accompany you. Together, in fraternity. And go forward with confidence and joy! Our Lady accompany you and keep you. Our Lady is a mother, and mothers know how to do it, they know better than us. I bless you all from my heart. And please, don't forget to pray for me, for, not against! Thank you.
Translation from Source: 
Image Screenshot from Vatican Media - Vatican News