October 30, 2008

Parish Ministry

I've been slow about posting this week; it's just been really busy. This is a busy time of year in general. For me the joy and the challenge of my ministry as parish priest come from the same fact: the outrageous diversity of the work. In the course of one day there is celebrating Mass, preaching, and leading prayers. In addition there are appointments in which you are called to pray with people, to offer spiritual advice or to plan events. And then there are homilies and talks to draft. Often there is a wake to attend in the afternoon, and usually an appointment or a committee meeting in the evening. Finally, there are technological and physical projects around the place to do or supervise, runs to the bank to be made, poor boxes to empty, vigil candles to light, telephone menus and websites to maintain, and thermostats to adjust.

In a way it's a beautiful ministry and a privilege, to have the chance to see the original blessing of God shining through into the world in so many different ways and in the lives of people in so many different situations and moments in life. On the other hand, it's easy to get worn out and scattered in spirit.

It's also why it's so important to take some "sabbath" from time to time, for the threefold Biblical purpose of imitating the Creator, taking time to restore ourselves in prayer, and to acknowledge that even though we work hard and do so many things, the ministry does not depend on our work, but on God.


ben in denver said...

Prayers have been offered for your intentions.

I hope you enjoy the Holy Days this weekend. We have a busy schedule planned in our family. trick-or-treating, parish All Saints party, visit to the cemetery and such.

4narnia said...

great post on parish life and ministry, Fr. C! there certainly is so much going on in the parish this time of year! and, yes, i agree that it's important to take our "sabbath" breaks for rest and renewal, as you mention. it's so true that our many ministries "don't depend on what we do, but on God." this is basically what i'm planning to share at the lector workshop on sunday: that we are really just God's instruments in our ministries and how important it is to prepare ourselves through necessary prayer and a real openness to the Holy Spirit. when we are open to the Holy Spirit, God really does use us and He works through us. for example, in my ministry of being a lector, it's so important to really start preparing a week ahead of time by reading and praying with Sacred Scripture, so that by the time we approach (with a sense of awe) our ministry of lectoring, we are so familiar with it that it's a real part of us and not just something we go up to read. i always talk to the Holy Spirit before approaching any ministry and ask Him to just use me as His instrument because there is always someone who will receive a word of encouragement or be touched, blessed or healed in some way. almost all the time, when i complete a ministry, particularly as a lector or altar server, people i sometimes do not even know come up to me to say thank you. but, i don't take the credit for it, but tell them it's God who has touched them through my ministry. this is why it is such an honor to be able to minister in any capacity - God will always use us as His intruments if we are open to Him! peace!
tara t