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The joy of being a priest

La Grave Joy. To be a priest today

of Father Francois Potez

Mame, 176 pages, €14.90

Born in 1955, Father François Potez left the Navy in 1982 to join the Brothers of Saint John. The day before his ordination in 1989, he found in his locker in the middle “a huge pile of mail” a letter from a nun, “one of the many mothers who have had a profound impact (her) life “. On the inside, ” a sentence “ as a motto for his priestly life: “Francis, be in grave joy. » This message, the parish priest of Saint-Philippe-du-Roule in Paris addresses today to Benoît, one of his spiritual sons who became a friend, and a priest like him. But these letters with a personal tone in which he mixes testimony, reflections and advice on the mission of the priest are also addressed to all priests and all lay people waiting for a word of hope.

They paint the portrait of a priest influenced by the goodness of God, eager to be “man of mercy”, “reflection of the love of God” while remaining demanding for his flock. ” The priest (…) must acquire, like everyone else, a certain maturity, human and affective, that is to say a balance which he will need all the more when he is confronted with difficult situations. And I am convinced, this maturity and this balance must be acquired before committing to the priesthood”he comments.

Drawing abundantly from the writings of Pope John Paul II, whom he is particularly fond of, his remarks address in turn the choice of celibacy, the vocation of the priest to be ” dad “, ” husband “ from the church, “pastor”, “man of prayer”, allowing himself to be led by the faith of Mary, the mother of Jesus. If he understands “that one can be violently scandalized by crimes” revealed by the Ciase report and does not hide the possible tensions with the hierarchy, Father François Potez reiterates here his love for the Church: “I am a sinner, a member of a community of sinners, on the way to conversion. » Anxious to develop “a pedagogy of enthusiasm”this parish priest for twenty-five years wonders: “Have I made the Lord, the Church, the sacraments desirable? »