Mercy In Ministry

At PrayTell, John Swencki asked about a Jubilee of Mercy connection on the church labor front:

I would be interested in knowing what parish staffs and diocesan/chancery staffs are doing amongst each other to model mercy and compassion:

  • are parish staffs going to be more mutual supportive of each other and the pastor;
  • the treatment of retired clergy and religious;
  • outreach to parishioners whose parishes have been closed (perhaps rescinding the closure?);
  • the return to full ministry of falsely accused priests who have been sidelined;
  • review of just wages (that are sought and given);
  • an extra hour given each week to the preparation of homilies;
  • parish office hours that accommodate working people;
  • availability & visibility of bishops;
  • everybody smiles more.

Do something that actually gets noticed and has a positive, practical impact.

One, two, five, six, and why not seven. Eight and nine, too.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Mercy In Ministry

  1. Liam says:

    “parish office hours that accommodate working people”

    It’s not just hours, it can also mean an enlarged attitude.

    An anecdote: When my mother died last year, the parish offices called us to summon us to a bereavement meeting. The office said 1PM Friday, for a Monday morning funeral (my mother had died early Thursday morning). I told them we couldn’t do 1PM, as we were furiously busy trying to gather family together on Friday afternoon. Knowing how parish staff often prefer to have their days flow, I said 11AM. They had to get back to me; they were apparently not used to having anyone negotiate times. I chose a time between what is often the daily mass-funeral window (9-11) and lunch (12-1). And then dealing with the music ministry was another fraught exercise involving Friday afternoon emails not responded to until we were closing the casket at the funeral home on Monday morning.

    Then, on the other side of the funeral: if you want to have a mass offered, you have to go to the parish office during their work hours when staff is available to do the booking. My 91-year old does not like to drive during the regular workday traffic to this church, but he has to in order to book. They don’t permit him to drop a request off in an envelope, to mail it to them, to do anything by phone.

    In my time, I’ve seen a lot of pokiness like this. (I certainly understand passive aggressiveness when the pastor is a bully, but when he’s not, it becomes mere bureaucracy.

    This parish is very comfortable place. University ministry as well.)

  2. FrMichael says:

    As a pastor, it’s a tough balancing act trying to set working hours for staff that lets them have a family life, yet serve working parishioners. The virtual extinction of teen after-hours workers in the aftermath of the Sexual Abuse Crisis hasn’t helped. The two most recent popes have made comments about “professional Catholics” (B16) and lordly parish secretaries (F) that I have certainly observed and had to correct coming into a parish as pastor. We have a partial workaround where many standard forms are available 24/7 in the vestibule and some online. The downside is that errors and incomplete information abounds, so it is additional work for the ladies in the office.

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