I write from Fatima, Portugal, where I am giving some talks at a clergy retreat. 45 priests from 15 countries have gathered to reconsecrate themselves to Jesus Christ through Our Lady. I was at dinner with two priests, one from Germany and one from Malawi. The African has thousands at his Masses, but only a small building; the German has a magnificent baroque church, but only about 110 people on Sundays. The German said, “Attendance is poor, but their faith is rich.” The Malawian said, “The building is poor, but the faith is rich.” Both were joyful priests.
Yesterday I flew through Paris on my way to Lisbon. I was delighted that everyone addressed me, with a smile, as mon pere (“my father”). As secular as France has become, she still has at least some faith in the priesthood. The faith is not yet dead in Paris, Berlin, or San Francisco! By God’s grace, and our hard work, it will flourish again.