Snapshots of parish
In As I Have Done For You, Los Angeles Cardinal
Roger Mahony offers several snapshots concerning the growth of lay
ministry and asks that parishes discuss them as a means of discerning a
strategy for reshaping ministerial structures in more appropriate ways. A
sampling of Mahonys snapshots:
- A 56-year-old sister has been the director of religious education in
her parish for 13 years. Over the last year, tensions between herself and the
pastor have been mounting. These tensions are brought to a head when a
first-year seminarian, 30 years old, is assigned to help out in the parish as
part of his seminary formation. The pastor is all aglow with excitement
and enthusiasm, referring to the seminarian as the hope for the
future of the church. The DRE feels resentful because the pastor has made
a big scene, falling all over the seminarian. Do you
have any advice for her? For the pastor?
- The pastor and priest associate of a large parish are both on the
verge of burnout. The pastor hires a parish business manager and asks the
bishop for the appointment of a lay pastoral associate. The latter takes up
several tasks often associated with the priesthood. But the parishioners want
personal contact with a priest in such circumstances. Discuss various
strategies for facing the ministerial challenges in this scenario.
- A laywoman feels called to lay ecclesial ministry but cannot afford
to live on a church salary. How to proceed?
- The Guadalupanas have gathered at the parish church on Thursday
evenings for years, followed by a meeting with the parish priest to discuss
their various apostolic works. The new pastor informs them that he is unable to
join them. The Guadalupanas feel abandoned. More important, they are reluctant
to meet without the presence of a priest, because of their commonly held
conviction that they cannot make decisions affecting the life of anyone in the
parish without his approval. Any advice?