Pope Francis says Church could not go on without the dedication, work of priests

Pope Francis dedicated a letter to the 300 priests participating in the 5-day International Meeting “Parish Priests for the Synod.”

The pope begins the letter stressing just how important priests' work is, saying the Church would not be able to go on without their dedication and pastoral service.

Pope Francis highlights that it is the pastors who are able to help bring people from different cultures, traditions and walks of life together in a synodal Church. The letter emphasizes that these differences are “indispensable” for evangelization—a mission he has called priests to before.

"We need [priests] who bear witness with their lives," Pope Francis said. "Be priests burning with the desire to carry the Gospel through the world's streets, in neighborhoods, in homes, especially in the poorest and most forgotten places."

The pope's letter challenges parish priests to continue their work of building a synodal and missionary Church in their own local communities. But he reminded them that they must live their mission partnering with lay people, which will help them “feel less alone in the demanding task of evangelization.”

This intiative of an international meeting of priests was a response to discussions made in the First Session of the Synod of Bishops in 2023. It called for the creation of more active roles for deacons, priests and bishops in the synodal process.