The new leadership of the parish pastoral council (PPC) should be working closely with the parish priests going forward, said Fr Paul Beukes, Vicar General, at the recent induction of the new heads.
Fr Paul said that in some parishes, the PPC “gangs up” on the priests putting them through “hell” which can lead to not, only the destruction of the parish, but also the name of the Catholic Church.
He reminded them that their mandate is to serve the parish community with their priests.
“You are there as leaders to serve, not be served, as did Jesus Christ when washing the feet of His disciples. You also need to do right and lead through using your actions as an example, working for harmony and unity in the parishes. You are working not only for the parishes, but for the benefit of the whole Archdiocese. Your job is to bring out the best in people. If you are there for your own glory there is no sense in serving,” he added.
Leaders always need to always do the right thing, even if they stand alone. If they see something wrong, they should not be afraid to speak out, even if they are the only voice. He likened this to God selecting Noah as the survivor of the floods because he was the only one who did the right thing. Noah found favour with God for he alone was righteous among the people of his day.” (Genesis 6:8–10, 18).
“You are not there to be popular,” he added.
He also encouraged the new leaders to not to badmouth the priests or the church – they should encourage parishioners to speak positively about the Catholic church
“Yes, we priests are not perfect – we also have our emotions and moods and this has to be taken into consideration before running the priest or the church down,” he said.
Fr Paul stressed two main issues which are to be focused on in the coming months – the building of the Shrine and the upcoming Synod.
He said he was aware of a lot of criticism and negativity about money being spent on the Shrine.
“This is going to be a place of worship away from the cities where people can pray and reflect on their own in the presence of Our Lady and God,” he said.