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Pope to priests: Never separate truth, joy, mercy from the Gospel


Pope Francis arrives in procession to celebrate Holy Thursday chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican April 13. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Always preach the whole truth of the Gospel with humility and respect and never be afraid to offer that truth just "one sip at a time," Pope Francis told the world's priests.

The Gospel is truth, "brimming with joy and mercy. We should never attempt to separate these three graces of the Gospel: its truth, which is non-negotiable; its mercy, which is unconditional and offered to all sinners; and its joy, which is personal and open to everyone," he said April 13 during the chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

Presiding over the first of two Holy Thursday liturgies, Pope Francis blessed the oils that will be used in the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, ordination and the anointing of the sick.

WithHoly Thursday commemoratingthe day Jesus shared his priesthood with the apostles, Pope Francis led the more than 1,500 priests, bishops and cardinals in a renewal of their priestly vows and dedicated his homily to the importance of preaching with a joy that touches people's hearts.

"The priest makes the message joyful by his whole being," he said, and it is in "little things" that this joy is best shared.

For example, he said, by stepping into today's "no man's lands" to bring God's mercy to forsaken situations, by picking up the phone and scheduling a needed meeting, by patiently allowing others "to take up our time."

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