A lady I know has offered to teach English to the new priest in her parish. She tutors Father after Mass. She is patient and tries to encourage Father. However, she is very discouraged and hurt by the comments she hears. It seems that there are some who voice their criticism of Father's limited English not only to her but to Father himself, and maybe even to the bishop.
This is not the only incident where a parishioner feels the need to complain because the priest speaks with an accent or if the priest is still struggling to learn the English language.
It is very sad when faced with a priest shortage worldwide, the United States of America, who once sent missioners to just about every corner of the world, now finds itself in need of priests from foreign countries to shepherd the people in this country.
In Hawaii priests from the Philippines, China, the African countries and Colombia, to name a few, have been sent to serve the people in the Diocese of Honolulu. Do you think it is easy for these men of God, to leave their home countries and their families, to come to a far off place where they are forced to communicate in a new language? How difficult it must be for them! Put yourself in their place. Would it be an easy thing for us to do?
I hope and pray that people will be patient with these holy men. I hope and pray that instead of criticizing and complaining about a priest's lack of English skills, they will be grateful that there is a priest who will offer the sacrifice of the Mass at the church and administer the sacraments; that they will like the lady I mentioned above, volunteer to tutor their priest in English or at least say something encouraging to him.
Sad to say, the priest in the lady's church has been transferred.