With a shortage of new priests, the Catholic Church is slowly changing who’s in charge of some functions of Church life. Last weekend, lay and religious leaders gathered in Philadelphia to talk about expanding the role of lay people in the Church.
"It’s what we are to do with our lives." That’s how Margaret Hargroder describes how she feels about her lay work. Hargroder has been involved in lay activities in the Catholic Church for all of her adult life. She, and her husband Raymond, are both Eucharistic Ministers at St. Mary’s Chuch in Lafayette. "More and more we’ve had lay people taking roles with Parish life, it’s just an increasing role," Hargroder tells KATC.
Hargroder says changing some church responsiblities is just lets lay people and Priests specialize in what they do best. "We’re all gifted in different ways and i think our Pastors are too. There are some gifts they can best utilize and there are other gifts that Parishioners may be able to lend their own gifts to."
With the movement, lay people could handle day-to-day operations and Priests do religious duties that way – priests could spend their time performing Sacraments, and lay people would take care of things like building maintenance and budgets.
Even though some Priests could see their roles become more focused, Hargroder says they play a very important role in Parish life. "I see him as a C.E.O. for our Parish, he’s the one that sees our Parish achieves the overall goal of health and development." (source)
This attitude does not exactly put priest on an altar, but where it does put them I am not sure. Lines like performing sacraments, and C.E.O. does not exactly describe the sacramental life of a priest. I wouldn’t exactly describe the goal of a priest as "health and development." I thought it might have something to do with helping to get us to heaven or something like that.
Well, “Spiritual Health and Development”…
When struggling to find an analogy for a unique position as parish priest, maybe CEO is as close as it gets.
Most people think Heaven’s a slam dunk these days, and they can’t figure out exactly why they need a priest in the first place. It puts a whole new emphasis on the need to “give them Hell.”
Perhaps you could do a parody product on this need and call it Preparation Hell.
I remember one pastor who really wished he didn’t have as much administrative stuff to do, so he could be out, you know, pastoring.
It’s a fine line. In the end, I remembered something that I had thought of back when I was doing the whole discernment thing. Being a priest is like being a spouce – it’s 24/7 – it’s your life. Being a pastor of a particular parish is your job. You get vacations, your day off once a week – but you never stop being a priest. Priests should make sure that they take one or two days a week that they don’t do the administrative side of their lives.
I dunno about this…when the religious got out of administering the Catholic schools and Catholic hospitals, and left it to the laity, the���ools and hospitals became less and less Catholic.