Pope Francis Compares the Life of a Priest to the Mysteries of the Rosary

Pope Francis celebrates Mass in Gyumri, Armenia, June 25, 2016. | L'Osservatore Romano/CNA

Pope Francis told seminarians on Saturday that praying the rosary can “unveil the mysteries of the priesthood” in its moments of joy, sorrow, and the glory to come.

In a meeting with seminarians from Barcelona, the pope urged the young men to remember that “when you are a priest your first obligation will be a life of prayer.”

“Dear seminarians, take up your rosary and ask Mary, Queen and Mother of Mercy, to help unveil the mysteries of the priesthood to which God calls you, contemplating the mysteries of his Son, realizing that the joy of discipleship and perfect identification with the cross are the only way to glory,” Pope Francis said on Dec. 10.

Pope Francis spoke to seminarians from Barcelona at the Vatican on Dec. 10, 2022. Vatican Media

The pope explained that the joyful mysteries of the priesthood are “born of gratitude for that preferential love that God showed you by calling you to his service.”


He recommended that seminarians contemplate the Blessed Virgin Mary’s attitude at the Annunciation and ask: “How was she when God called her? And how was I? With what zeal do I consider my future priestly life? Will I rise up … with love, to bring God to the world? Will I take him up the most arduous and painful of mountains?”

Pope Francis added that the fifth joyful mystery of the rosary, the finding of Jesus in the temple, contains a particular lesson that should never be forgotten.

Throughout life, we must always return to look for Jesus in the tabernacle, he said, encouraging the future priests to “lose yourselves there with Him.”

In the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary, a priest is reminded that he “must aspire to a crown of thorns,” to be identified with the Lord in his suffering, the pope said.

“There is the sacrifice of assuming one's own cross and beginning a path, often of abandonment. It is the sacrifice of life. Looking at the cross we raise our eyes to heaven and see our destiny,” Pope Francis said.

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Pope Francis spoke to seminarians from Barcelona at the Vatican on Dec. 10, 2022. Vatican Media

For a priest, the glorious mysteries are found in the Mass in thanksgiving for the Passion of Jesus, he explained.

“After the triumph of the resurrection, Jesus entered the sanctuary of heaven and from there he perpetuates this continuous thanksgiving. Seeing him seated at the right hand of the Father calls us to hope and fills us with joy because he assures us of heaven,” he said.

“For this God sends the Holy Spirit, the only one who can teach us these mysteries, and one day he will give you the gift of being priests of Christ. Never cease to savor and remember this love of predilection that is poured and will be poured abundantly into your heart, at your ordination, and for the rest of your days.”

“Never extinguish this fire that will make you fearless preachers of the Gospel, dispensers of divine gifts. Unite your flesh to that of Jesus, like Mary, to immolate yourselves with him in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and also in the glory of his triumph," Pope Francis said.


Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.