Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Changes in Our Parishes - Priests

Picture source

Seems like the summertime always seems to brings difficult changes in parish churches. Priests that we have come to know very well and to love and care for, are reassigned by their bishops.

Many people do not like change. It is only natural that we like things just the way we have grown accustomed them to be.  This seems to be apparently true when it comes to our priests remaining with us.

One priest has been at the same parish for eight years. He was supposed to be reassigned two years ago but was able to remain at the parish he had come to love, for an additional two years. Now it is his time to leave. He mentioned that he told three people about his departure and they all cried. He then stopped telling individuals, instead opting to tell everyone after the conclusion of Sunday Mass. He like all faithful priests knows he must be obedient to his bishop.

Why is it that the knee-jerk reaction of some individuals is to blame the bishop? Some go as far as to get angry at the bishops and to criticize them to others. We seem to forget that a priest should not be attached to anyone or anything. He must always be obedient. He must be ready to shepherd his flock no matter where he is sent. I know the priests know this and respect their bishops' decision. Why can't we?

I remember when I was younger, the parish my family belonged to grew very close to the Franciscan friars...the Capuchins. Each time one of the friars was reassigned, some of the people were ready to protest and to sign petitions. One wise priest admonished them. This kind of reaction on the part of the laity is not at all helpful.  It will not help to change a bishop's decision.

Another thing I have noticed is that those who volunteer to help out sometimes have a problem with the way the new priest does things. We have to remember, we have to accommodate and change to suit the new priest, not the other way around.

We must remember a priest is in persona christi or alter christus....another Christ.

In this month of June, our holy Father's prayer intention is for our priests. Please pray for your priests, especially the new ones assigned to your parish.


Anne said...

Esther, this is an excellent post! Your words are wise and very helpful. Thank you for writing this!

Esther G. said...

Thank you Anne. Today I overheard a comment "God help this parish!" After the person got to meet the new priest and saw how considerate he was towards her, her attitude seemed to change.