CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy - Wearing new clerical suits, the 62
new students at the Pontifical North American College
received a personal greeting from Pope Benedict XVI, to which
they responded in song.
"Dear seminarians, use your time in Rome to conform
yourselves more completely to Christ," the pope told the
young men Aug. 26 after reciting the Angelus with them and
hundreds of other visitors in the courtyard of the papal
villa at Castel Gandolfo.
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.
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
Aug. 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.
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
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.