View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

No priest applied

On Sunday, Farther Steve mentioned at Mass that our local planning group of parishes in Gates will soon have to deal with the loss of a priest who is retiring. He said the priest will not be replaced by a resident priest.

At choir practice, we were told that the parish in question would have a pastoral administrator. But we were also told that the parish would have an administrator because when the opening had been advertised, no priest had expressed an interest in becoming pastor there.

It doesn't look like this is a matter of the Diocese foisting an administrator on the parish (unless there's some conspiracy types out there who want to speculate that the Diocese applied behind-the-scenes pressure so that it could advance some sort of anti-clerical agenda!)

It was simply that no priest expressed interest.

I don't know why no priest applied. Maybe all the eligible priests are happy in their current assignments and parishes and didn't want to change. Maybe the parish is facing some possible problems about which we are unaware and no priest wanted to deal with the headaches. Maybe they didn't like the color of the rugs in the rectory.

Whatever the reason, the priest shortage is hitting closer to home.

With only one ordination this year. And no more for the next few years.

As I've said before, we need an active, sustained, strong vocations program. We need to reach out to young people in multiple ways. We need inspiring priests and leaders. We need to make service to the Church look exciting and fulfilling, and not boring, or, worse, a battleground. Make wrong move, do the wrong thing, say the wrong thing, even innocently, - or fail to move, do or say something someone thinks you should - and chances are some faction on the left or right will go after you.

But even if the vocations increased, it will be years before we see more priests. This situation is now. And what happens if we lose two priests?

There's not much I can do except pray, and to encourge men to consider becoming priests.

Tomorrow's rosary is for an increase in vocations!


Blogger Dr. K said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:06 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

"At choir practice, we were told that the parish in question would have a pastoral administrator. But we were also told that the parish would have an administrator" -- I meant pastoral administrator in both cases, not two different things. Sorry if I was unclear.

7:11 PM  
Anonymous Todd said...

"It was simply that no priest expressed interest."

Like some clergy with lay people, some parishes get bad reputations among priests. I've served in one of these once. Other priests in the diocese thought it was too big and that the previous pastor had too much trouble with parishioners and the school.

Actually in my current archdiocese, ordinations have been continuing, though at a lower pace, and that in about five years, the now-slightly delcining demographics of priests will level off.

8:32 PM  
Blogger Interstate Catholic said...

I was surprised no priest applied. The parish seems to be one of the more vibrant parishes in the diocese.

I'm sure that Fr. Holland will be a tough act to follow, for the PA and the sacramental minister. I wish both well.

1:47 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Hey Interstate - I didn't know you now had a blog of your own. Welcome to the madness!

I don't know a lot about Fr. Holland's current parish - he is indeed the one we were told about.

I do know he used to be our pastor, and he forced through a costly church renovation program that many people questioned, and which sorely depleted the parish's cash reserves because people did not want to contribute to the project. Our financial woes these days at my parish are due in part to his actions then.

And then, he suddenly left before his full two-terms were up to go to his current assignment. If I remember correctly, there had been some problems related to the prievious pastor over there, and they needed a sudden replacement - so there was nothing sinister about Father Holland's move that I'm aware of. But he did leave a mess. The average parishioner may not have known the state he left us in, but my wife was on the finance committee!

That may not be the case where he is now, but when I heard about this, a red flag went up. I wonder what the parish books look like over there? Maybe they're fine.

5:48 AM  
Blogger Dr. K said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Rich Leonardi said...

The last time I went to this parish was when he spoke from the pulpit about how he wishes the Bible made use of more inclusive language.He also broadcast his support for women's ordination in the bulletin. (You can find a link in the archives of my site.) In the late 90s (or possibly early this decade), St. Pius X had a wonderful visiting priest from Africa. He was a courageous preacher and a reverent celebrant. It's a shame they couldn't keep him.

5:55 PM  
Blogger Dr. K said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:06 PM  

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