Pope, at audience, asks Catholics to pray for priests on Holy Thursday


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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI asked Catholics to offer special prayers during Holy Week that their priests would be holy messengers of hope, reconciliation and peace. During his weekly general audience March 31, the pope said the priests' annual renewal of their vows was particularly significant during the Year for Priests, which ends in June.

In his remarks, the pope highlighted the importance of the Holy Week chrism Mass, during which priests gather with their bishop to bless the oils used in the sacraments and to renew their priestly promises.

The pope invited people to keep the priests in their prayers.

"We pray that by growing each day in fidelity and love for Christ, they will be messengers of hope, reconciliation and peace in the midst of their brothers and sisters," he said.

Speaking to an estimated 11,000 visitors gathered in St. Peter's Square, Pope Benedict discussed each of the Holy Week liturgies.

In his main audience talk, the pope said the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper marks the institution of the Eucharist and Christ giving the Twelve Apostles and their successors the authority to be ministers of the sacrament.