Written by Sherry
Thursday, 31 January 2008 05:18
There is an interesting conference underway in Rome on "The Parish and the New Evangelization". It is sponsored in part by the Emmanuel Community which sponsors some wonderful evangelization events - such as the open house/Adoration/welcome initiative that my pastor stumbled across at the Parthenon in Rome a few years ago.
Although the Emmanuel Community was founded by a layman, it now has priestly vocations that have sprung up from within.
Father Yves le Saux, general delegate for ordained ministry of the Emmanuel Community was interviewed by Zenit:
" . . . the model of the parish in which the pastor is there, in the midst of its community, available for all the people to go to, is no longer sufficient today. If a pastor wishes to still have sheep, he should go to find them. Today, the parish should be understood as “mission territory.” It seems to me that perhaps the term “mission territory” has to be added to the term parish so that the priest and Christians who live in a determined place can enter into a dynamic of announcing the Gospel. From an interview with the head of the Emm
Said in another way, does the parish have a future? Yes, on the condition that it is missionary.
Q: What advice could you give to a pastor who has a deep consciousness of the evangelizing role of his parish but who feels alone facing this challenge?
Father Le Saux: It is clear that the responsibility for the mission should not fall on only one man. I think that today the parochial function should not be entrusted to only one man, but to a team of priests who have a demanding community life and who are prepared for working together in the mission.
But this is insufficient. Today a parish priest has to be surrounded by the baptized who share with him the same missionary drive. The priest who feels alone should, in principle, have the objective of surrounding himself with people who not only evangelize with him, but who also pray with him, reflect with him, have a Christian life with him.
That being said, I think that there is also a responsibility of the bishops themselves, who should be on guard to not leave a priest alone. A man alone, even with a lot of help and talents, remains limited in his fruitfulness."
Few diocesan priests that I've met have the alternative of working with a team of priests - certainly in large parts of the US and elsewhere. But they certainly can seek to be surrounded by the baptized who "share the same missionary drive." who evangelize with him, pray with him, have a Christian life with him.
Of course, that would require that both pastor and people were intentional disciples who were convinced that the Church's primary mission is outward, not inward and busy engaged in that mission.
Excellent grist for the conversational mill in Houston!
As Paul Tournier put it:
"There are two things a person can not do alone. One is to be married and the other is to be a Christian."