I’ve often been asked to justify my position in the parish. Some people just don’t get it. And they like it that way because they have their minds already made up. Tony from Catholic Pillow Fight recently commented:
“Though I like you, Todd, I don’t have a whole lot of use for ‘liturgists’. Priests ought to be able to plan their own liturgies.”
Let me assure Tony and others that I don’t include him in the group that “just doesn’t get it.” Some people are blessed to have priests who say Mass, keep the books, pay the bills, cut the grass, teach kids their catechism and even play basketball with them, visit the sick, and do all the things they can and should do to be a witness to Christ’s presence in the parish. God love them and keep them.
But that’s not every priest. My reply to Tony:
Ask some priests of large parishes what they think of that. Many do. But others recognize they are not as well-educated nor as inclined to oversee liturgy. If you have a choir or two, somebody has to run it, and usually it’s not the priest. I oversee about 550 volunteers in my parish. The parish priests are a part of that, certainly. But most priests couldn’t care less about the details I get done. I’m sure they could do a creditable job, and in a few cases, do it better than me. But I’m employed for the same reason a principal, a janitor, a youth minister, or a school teacher would be. We are extensions of the pastoral ministry of Christ to a particular parish community. We serve people and are answerable to our pastor.
Doubtless, there are some parishioners who feel I’m a useless appendage in my parish. They’re welcome to their opinion, even if they make it to an influential parish committee. But I doubt they’re going to get rid of me short of my retirement, death, relocation, or a grave professional blunder. But it doesn’t matter. I still serve them and pray for them daily.