MANILA, March 26, 2014 – What is the best way the laity can assist the parish priest, the de facto CEO of a parish whose tasks include hearing confessions to checking on plumbing? A group of apologists suggests taking on teaching and catechizing.
“The teaching ministry can be performed by lay people,” said Defensores Fidei Foundation, (DFF) chair Henry Siy.
More lay teachers
According to Siy, who heads the group of Catholic apologists, sometimes “a simple question” [about the faith] from parishioners can take up half an hour of a parish priest’s precious time.
“The laypeople can do the job,” he said.
The multi-faceted, multi-tasking job of the parish priest can be lightened if lay people take on a more active role in teaching and catechizing in the parish.
“The number of priests is too small compared to the number of parishioners,” Siy added. The shortage of priests, he said, makes the parish priest’s responsibility too taxing.
In a parish of 3, 000, for example, the priest would do nothing more than sit and listen to confessions, if most would come for confession, Siy said.
Focus on sacraments
Confession is a sacrament, he added. If given a choice, the priest should sit in the confessional box rather than teach. As “spiritual adviser,” Siy explained, “he can also give counsel to parishioners during confession.”
Aside from this, the parish priest does many things like preparing homilies, celebrating holy mass regularly, officiating weddings, baptizing, speaking in a gatherings, blessing cars and houses, and attending social engagements in the community.
The parish priest also manages the pastoral council and the finances. He is also the one who meets constructors when the church needs renovation and repainting. He even talks with the plumber when the water system needs fixing.
As chief executive officer of the parish, Siy said, the role of the parish priest is stressful in itself.
The laypeople, like the DFF, can lessen the parish priest’s load by helping in the clergy’s teaching ministry, he said. (Oliver Samson)