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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Busy Pastors

Pastors, their associates and deacons in most Protestant and Catholic churches are consumed with numerous responsibilities ranging from preparing and presiding at weekly liturgies to baptisms, funerals, weddings and community social events. However, in accord with Jesus’ command to serve the poor (Mt. 25:35-36), should pastors, their associates and deacons plan occasional time in their schedules to have direct ministry contact to the poor, homeless, prisoner, rejected and abandoned? What is your opinion? Let us know by responding in the poll section by scrolling down to the bottom of the page.

It is my opinion that …

Yes – pastors, their associates and deacons should plan occasional time in their schedules to have direct contact ministry to the poor, homeless, prisoner, rejected and abandoned.

or …

No – it is unnecessary for pastors, associates and deacons to plan occasional time in their schedules for ministry to the poor, homeless, prisoner, rejected and abandoned. They must stay focused on overall leadership. Others should be their ambassadors.
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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for keeping me abreast with this important ministry--this is how we make the Incarnation a living and present reality!
May the resurrected Lord keep blessing you! Happy Easter! -Rene

Anonymous said...

Most of us as pastors either are doing this or it is part of the local parish community actions....so I find the question being written with a bias in place... I find an integration of both liturgies and direct service/ministry as part of my 24 years as a priest in three different settings.... Rev. C. P.

Lizzy said...

Isn't there some middle ground here with this question. I find I can't answer Yes or No.

Ileana said...

Hope you don't mind a really long post...

It does seem a bit like a trick question. Yes pastors should schedule time to be in direct ministry with these groups but their schedules already include that. A person can get direct contact with a pastor easily. There is a scheduled time at any parish for reconciliation and you don't have to have a sin to confess to walk into that room. There is always a priest on call at a parish. And, as someone else stated, pastors participate in outreach programs already established in their churches. And, you don't necessarily have to be without a home to be poor in spirit, a prisoner of your sins or feel rejected and abandoned. There are many ways that pastors directly serve us.

Are you asking are they absolved from reaching out to people on a one on one basis because they are priests and do other good works? Not exactly. They are given the same directives as lay people, Jesus asked everyone to participate in his ministry. But we're also asked to use the gifts we've been given by God. If one person's gift is to lead people, then their greatest service to God is to use their gift. Other people have the gift to outreach to teach prisoners new skills, visit the elderly, raise money to help the poor, collect and distribute food to the homeless. You don't have to do everything to do something.

So it seems like it's yes and no. Yes they have a duty to serve these populations, they probably have it scheduled in their lives already, but No it shouldn't necessarily take priority over their call to serve as leaders.

IB

Anonymous said...

Great comments Rene, Rev. C.P., Lizzy and Ileana. It may not be the most palatable of questions, but the feedback and insights that others are having is prompting a great discussion. It seems as though serving the poor is less about the question. It’s also less about talk and like Nike we are called to “just do it.” One can only imagine how happy our actions in this regard please the Lord.

Lizzy said...

I have one other comment as I have been thinking a lot about this topic. I am blessed to have an 85 year uncle who is a priest. And since he lives across the country, my experience with him and has been primarily in every day life/vacation. I can't tell you how often he has been approached by people asking for assistance, money and other help while we are walking, shopping or site seeing. I can't tell you how often we stopped along the highway to give aid to people in accidents. What I am trying to say is that being a priest is to be more than a job is a 24 hour calling. So if a church has an outreach program, that lessens his formal burden but it doesn't lessen the experiences a priest gives in the course of normal life.

Anonymous said...

The presence and effect of poverty is very visible in our surrounding and everywhere even during the time of Jesus, where He showed so much compassion to the poor. Likewise he commanded his disciples to do the same. Yet, obviously not everybody can literally do what Jesus did. Why? It is because of varied reasons...

Each one us has a particular role while still on this earthly journey, as God had destined for us to function in His vineyard. Some have leadership role while others have the discipleship role. Like the different parts of our body; a hand cannot act as the head or the feet to be the mouth.

St. Therese of the Child Jesus, a cloistered nun, wanted very much to go to a mission. Apparently she wanted to be in direct contact with the poor, yet, that was not the role God had for her. Any way though she did not go to the mission, the Church declared her as patron saint of the mission.

There are many ways for us to be able to help the poor. Prayers, almsgiving, visitations are some of them. All corporal works of mercy should be done out of one’s generosity of time, treasure and talent. Yes, God loves a cheerful giver; and He can never be outdone in generosity. Sr. A.