Tuesday, 29 September 2009

All together now

The normal run of meetings has begun again after the summer break. Parish councils, liturgy groups, Churches Together, school governors, First Communion catechists, prayer group, etc etc. I am very glad that the Church has gone down the road of collaborative ministry - everybody working together for the good of all and the coming of the Kingdom. However... it all means more and more need for people to get together, whether in formal meetings or not. And if priests are to give a lead in this collaborative approach, we must be seen to be committed to it - which means a lot of meetings!
Many older priests were trained to be the administrators of a particular part of the Lord's vineyard. The people's job was to therefore do what Father asked. With the Church now asking us all to work with each other, without losing our distinctive roles and ministries, many priests find it very hard to "work with" parishioners. They don't mind telling the people what to do, or delegating, ie telling them to get on with it without him - but doing it together is something different. People now are more educated, not least in religious matters, and infinite information is available, especially on the internet. Part of the priest's task nowadays is to know when to work together, when to stand back and when a task is rightfully his - so get on with it!
My experience is that working together can, perhaps surprisingly, be the most difficult way. But in the end it is also the most rewarding. As examples I give our 3 Churches Mass, our recent REFRESH youth event, or our September Pilgrimages.

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