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Raleigh Seminarians Receive Greeting from Holy Father

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Two seminarians from the Diocese of Raleigh were among 62 new students at the Pontifical North American College to receive a personal greeting from Pope Benedict XVI. Timothy Ahn and Michael Schuetz arrived in Rome, Thursday, August 23, 2012, to begin their four-year course of studies at the college, which was formally inaugurated by Pope Pius IX in 1859. (See story.)

The seminarians received the greeting Sunday, August 26, after the Holy Father recited the Angelus in the courtyard of the papal villa at Castel Gondolfo.

"Dear seminarians,” Pope Benedict said, “use your time in Rome to conform yourselves more completely to Christ."

The pope prayed that the seminarians and all Catholics would "remain faithful to the Lord, even when our faith in his teachings is tested." 

The new students at the North American College, the seminary in Rome sponsored by the U.S. bishops, arrived at the college August 23 for orientation. A total of 248 seminarians from 97 dioceses in the U.S., Canada and Australia are expected at the college this year.

The 62 men -- who come from 46 U.S. dioceses, two Australian and one Canadian diocese -- sang "Ad Multos Annos" to Pope Benedict, wishing him "many years" in Latin, and the pope applauded in thanks. 

In his main Angelus address, Pope Benedict commented on the Sunday Gospel reading about how some followers of Jesus abandoned him when they could not understand or accept his teachings.

The pope said Judas, who ended up betraying Jesus, should have been among those to leave, but he wasn't honest enough to do even that.

"He did not remain because of faith, or because of love, but with the secret intention of taking vengeance on the master," the pope said. Judas felt betrayed when Jesus made it clear he did not come to lead a political revolution. 

"The problem is that Judas did not go away, and his most serious fault was falsehood, which is the mark of the devil," the pope said.

(Based on CNS story)

Above: Pope Benedict XVI waves as he leads the Angelus from a window at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters). Click photo to view larger.