The tiredness of priests

Ngā Mihi Nui ki a koutou katoa

The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network for July was focussed on “the tiredness of priests.”  Pope Francis is very realistic and down to earth and begins by saying:

“The tiredness of priests… Do you know how often I think about it?
Priests, with their virtues and defects, work in many different areas.

Working on so many active fronts, they cannot remain inactive after a disappointment. At such times, it’s good for them to remember that the people love their priests, need them, and trust in them. Let us pray together that priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests.”

Near the end of the video (which can be found at www.popevideo.org) there is a scene which shows that lay people often offer their priest support which brings joy into their lives.  Several years ago, the New Zealand Bishops wrote a letter to all the priests in New Zealand entitled “In the Service of Christ and His People.”  One of the lines I have often thought about from that letter is that which reads “we are moving into an era when we will need each other’s support more not less.” I often quote this line when speaking with our priests, and it is usually in such a way that I am asking the priests to support each other. Pope Francis asked the world to pray that “priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests.”  I am suggesting in this newsletter that we are all invited to support our priests, especially through, prayer, a kind and affirming word, a smile or some form of encouragement.

The Pope said in his message “it’s good for them (priests) to remember that the people love their priests, need them, and trust in them.” I am very aware that there are times when people are disappointed and frustrated for a whole range or reasons. The priest snapped at them before Mass, they did not understand the homily and the content was not relevant, he was bad-tempered and impatient, he acted as though it was his Church. I am also very aware that there are all sorts of pressures on priests every day, as there are for everyone as they deal with jobs, family illness, financial difficulties, etc. Perhaps that is where we are all called to help, support, assist an encourage one another in our parish communities.

If we all do some little thing in our parishes to develop close and warm relationships, crate community, and try to hold each member of the parish community within a network of solidarity and belonging we can create a setting for a dignified life.

We all deserve a dignified life. We help each other, priests and parishioners to create that.

Mā te Atua koutou e manaaki, e tiaki

+John