October 26, 2007

Letters to the Editor

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(Editor’s Note: Oct. 28 has been declared Priesthood Sunday by Serra Club International. Below is a copy of a letter sent by Serra Club of Indianapolis to priests serving parishes in the archdiocese. Please join Serra Club members in thanking our priests for their dedication to the people of God.)

A thank you to our dedicated priests

Priests are more than spiritual leaders. You are the link to Christ’s original disciples.

Even more, today’s priests are teachers of and defenders of the dogmatic truths of the Church as well as the doctrine employed to guide Catholics in everyday life. But those roles are only the tip of both the spiritual and temporal iceberg.

You take on the role of counselor, confidant, confessor, leaning post, spiritual adviser, Christ’s representative and teacher. You are thought of as one who is available 24/7, a dispenser of truth and insight on spiritual matters, and consoler to many.

You are cloaked with the mantel of both high esteem and responsibility immediately after ordination, and are expected to celebrate liturgy, be a provider of all Church sacraments, and mediate troubled marriages and social conflicts on such matters as birth control and abortion.

You also are expected to have the ability to counsel those Church members saddled with spiritual doubts and troubled souls. At the same time, you are responsible for balancing the budget and raising money for the parish.

In addition, parish members expect you to be bilingual to serve the people in your area. And you are to do all these tasks every day.

Your demeanor is expected to be upbeat, attentive, selfless and perpetually kind while you attend to all of these items.

Priests are expected to be brilliant liturgists and insightful homilists with the capacity to pass on Christ’s teaching from the pulpit in seven minutes or less, and to possess the aura of a kindly shepherd just waiting to solve others’ problems.

In short, priests are expected to be all things to all people. You can’t exude your human nature too much for fear of undermining your effectiveness with ­parishioners, and yet you must find an outlet that keeps yourself fueled to handle all that comes to you.

You are part of a fraternity that lacks sufficient numbers while being asked to handle multiple chores. You are under­appreciated, overworked by some, and yet incredibly devoted to Christ’s teachings and promises.

We know that “the harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few” (Lk 10:2). The people of God are thankful for your service, for your generosity and for your care of us.

We need you in our lives. We thank you for all of the good times, good advice, healthy admonitions and sometimes dire warnings that you have shared with us. We thank you for sharing yourself with us.

The next time we think of a priest, we will think about all that you are asked to provide and do for us. You receive more than God’s call to become a priest. You also receive the grace which allows your continued recommitment each day of your life.

You respond by providing a lifetime of service to those of us fortunate to come in contact with you. You are a gift from God to us as you continue Christ’s work in our world.

- Serra Club of Indianapolis


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