So often we complain about our priests, about what they have done that they shouldn’t have done or the things that they didn’t do. We comment on their character flaws to everyone we meet. We should refrain from this sort of gossip, using our tongues rather to pray for our priests. We can spare one prayer each day for our parish priest and any other priests that have passed through our lives over the years.
What prayers then do our priests need? We can pray for their priesthood – everyday we see the threats to their vocation. We can pray that even though they empty themselves for us, they will also be filled with many gifts and graces. We can pray that each day, they awaken filled with enthusiasm for their mission, strength to face their daily difficulties. We can pray that they, too, can often feel that God hears their prayers.
We need to publically acknowledge and thank them for the good work that our priests are doing in our communities. Give praise where praise is due, the old saying tells us. How would it be if every opportunity we had we told of some positive experience with a priest. Or of some things we admire about the priests whom we have experienced over the years? Perhaps we could make it a point of thanking our parish priest once a week for something in particular.
So often, we only see our priests in Mass but forget that they have other duties. They need to visit the sick, counsel the many who come to them for help, assist the local community, run training and spiritual programs, be responsible for the upkeep of the church and the numerous other tasks in the parish.
Would their work not be easier, if we could relieve them of some of their burdens? No matter how small the task, if each parishioner did one thing to help in the life of the Church, then the parish priest’s whole job could become so much easier. Imagine how well a parish would run if the priest had an electrician, plumber or gardener to oversee that tasks in these areas of expertise are completed. Those of us with basic computer and phone answering skills could easily solve half of the admin problems many priests have to contend with. Could not a trustworthy person be given the task of taking collection money to the bank or paying the bills?
So often we think that we are the only person in the parish and that the priest needs to answer my every need. We can help by making appointments to see them at a time that suits them rather than demanding their attention after Mass because this time suits me.
There are many ways in which we can help our priests with the more mundane tasks, leaving them free to continue with their work of ministering to the community.