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More parishes than priests – New Zealand Catholic Journal



The situation of more parishes than priests is rushing towards us.

The shift from the current model of the parish priest of the sole decision maker to joint leadership with the laity will simultaneously require that we “unlearn” that baptism is the sacrament “accomplished” when we were infants, and that it is not the clergy of the world. first and then the laity.

“The baptismal life is the fundamental human vocation, and all must exercise the priesthood received at baptism. The ministry is at the service of this “, declares Cardinal Marc Quellet, chief organizer of the next theological conference entitled” Towards a fundamental theology of the priesthood “, initiated by Pope Francis for February 2022.” The ordained ministry is not a question of belonging. to ‘ecclesiastical power’ ”, declared the cardinal.

Returning to the baptism and the priesthood of all believers “is not just a fashion, it is the basis of all Christian life”, declared Michelina Tenance, assistant organizer of this conference.

These coming years will be huge changes. But no different from those unexpected moments when we receive traumatic news. Suddenly our lives are turned upside down. Hindsight can reveal that, amidst the anxiety and chaos, we have, in fact, been stepped out of our comfort zones to see the greater picture of the involving presence of God.

It is also the story of the maturation of the Church.

Not even 100 years ago, the early Church was forced to make a decision in the midst of chaos. Can non-Jews become Christians? Yes, the leaders said. “God has no favorites. But that anyone of any nationality who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to him. (Acts 10:35)

Leaving aside arguments on both sides of the issue associated with the Lutheran Reformation, the Church returned to the fact that it must be a living experience and that Scripture is essential for spiritual growth.

The Second Vatican Council had to cut back on exteriors to realize once again that she is a seed planted in the world, and not a diamond to be admired in a high-end jewelry store.

We are capable of being reshaped by the circumstances of life.

Working towards shared leadership will require parishioners to constantly reunite with their priest and bishop or apostolic administrators. Not so much to make a decision, but to allow the Holy Spirit of God to lead the way from within.

The presence of Jesus among us is a constant. We are not abandoned.

When an ordained person says “Your sins are forgiven” (John 20: 23-24), and “This is my Body, this is my Blood” (1 Corinthians 11:24), it is Jesus speaking.

Spiritual gifts – the charisms of the Holy Spirit of God – enable us to exercise our ministry and build up our communities of faith so that they are full of life and joy. And not just for ourselves, but included for those who desire to belong to us.

Recognizing spiritual gifts requires us to look at one another more deeply, as often the gifts are offered to those who lack the skills we usually seek. Gifted beyond these must-have people and obvious choices.

After menopause, God tells Sarah that she will get pregnant with Isaac. (Genesis 18: 9-15)

Moses’ stuttering (Exodus 2: 11-32) was not an obstacle for him to negotiate with the powerful narcissistic Pharaoh.

Samuel (1 Samuel 3) was only a child, but successfully led the defense against the Philistine attackers.

Jesus chose Peter to lead the Church, when weeks before he had dissociated himself from the Lord. (Matthew 16:18)

Lydia (Acts 16) who believed in many gods, professed that Jesus is Lord, and she became an effective evangelist.

Susanna (Luke 8: 2) who was healed of an evil spirit ended up boldly proclaiming the Risen Jesus!

Why ask a parishioner to proclaim the scriptures when he is silent? But I am. Why ask a parishioner to write articles with a poor grasp of basic English grammar? But I am. Why ask a parishioner to pray with another when he is in despair with an impromptu prayer? But I am.

Pope Francis, in his document entitled Ministry of Antiquity (Institution of the Ministry of Catechism), published in Rome in May 2021, asserts that the development of the ministry of the laity is not an effort to clericalize the laity.

In my opinion, if an ordained man believes himself superior to the laity and this is called clericalization, then the laity can also use spiritual gifts to gain prominence. Both ordained and laity may be tempted to use spiritual gifts as if they were their own possession. Ministry is service! – a mature service that is!

“New Zealand Catholic Bishops have endorsed the concepts of co-responsibility and lay leadership,” Bishop Stephen Lowe, vice-president and secretary of the New Zealand Bishops’ Conference – Te Huinga a nga Pikopa Katorika wrote to me. o Aotearoa on June 3. , 2021.

  • Sue Seconi is a parishioner at the Catholic parish of Whanganui – Te Parihi Katorika Ki Whanganui