Dear brother priests of the Diocese of Rome and other dioceses throughout the world!
When I was reading the texts of today’s liturgy, I kept thinking of the passage from Deuteronomy: “For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him?” (4:7). The closeness of God… our apostolic closeness.
Closeness is more than the name of a specific virtue; it is an attitude that engages the whole person, our way of relating, our way of being attentive both to ourselves and to others… When people say of a priest, “he is close to us”, they usually mean two things. The first is that “he is always there” (as opposed to never being there: in that case, they always begin by saying, “Father, I know you are very busy…”). The other is that he has a word for everyone. “He talks to everybody”, they say, with adults and children alike, with the poor, with those who do not believe… Priests who are “close”, available, priests who are there for people, who talk to everyone… street priests.