Pope Francis told elderly priests from northern Italy that aging is a privilege because they have the chance to suffer like Jesus Christ.
“You are experiencing a season, old age, which is not a disease but a privilege,” he said in a Sept. 16 letter to priests from the Lombardy region.
“And even those of you who are sick live, we can say, a privilege: that of resembling Jesus who suffers, carrying the cross just like Him,” he added.
Pope Francis sent the letter as elderly priests and the bishops of the Lombardy region met for a day of prayer and community at the shrine of Santa Maria del Fonte in Caravaggio, 25 miles east of Milan.
The day began with Mass offered for the repose of the souls of the 92 Lombardy priests who died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Mass was followed by a shared lunch.