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Whose Job is It?

In years past the priests and the nuns did most of the work in our parishes.  Now, most parishes have lay staff members who are married with families of their own and we could not do all the ministry we do without the help of our parishioners.  Still, there remains something profound about a call to the priesthood and religious life.  It is only the priest who can preside at Mass, anoint the sick and celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Deacons and priests can baptize and preside at weddings.  Only a bishop can ordain is the normal celebrant of Confirmation.

The laity have become much more involved in the ministry of the parish.  Priests have a unique role to play in the spiritual life of the parish but everyone has a call to help spread the good news and to care for the needs of all God’s children.

Two examples.  First, is our social ministry work.  Here at St. Mary’s we have a committee of about twelve people who plan and organize our social ministry.  As a priest I can contribute in three ways.  First, when I preach, I can help people understand how Jesus calls us to help those in need with food, water, clothing, and shelter.  Secondly, outside of Mass, I have been a presenter at sessions that talk about what Catholic Social Teaching says about particular issues such as the environment and health care (I also use this blog with this purpose in mind).  Lastly, I can help, just like everyone else to be a helping hand to those in need.  Yet, it is not just my ministry to help those in need nor is it the sole responsibility of our committee.  We have person who we can count on for help and our best example is the success of our Christmas Basket program that counts on the generosity of all our parishioners.  The more who contribute of their time, talent, and treasure the more people we can help.

The other example I want to use here is our outreach to Inactive Catholics.  I have preached on our efforts to outreach to Catholics who don’t come to church.  I have made up brochures and flyers.  I have blogged about it.  I have shared my story with those I encounter.  I have worked with our evangelization committee to reach out to these people.  But it is you who see this people everyday.  I see my role as a “priest evangelizer” as to evangelizer the people who come to church (and those, like you, who read this blog).  When I talk about me evangelizing you I mean to help you grow deeper in your faith and understanding of how Jesus calls us to live.  I hope you in turn live your faith and share your faith with others.  Let others know that your faith is important to you and perhaps they will want to come to church with you to see what it is that motivates you to be a good person.

We are all called to bring Christ to the world.  How can you help?


Fr. Jeff

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