Aparecida 199-200: Priests As Disciples, Missionaries, Servants

A summary of the three aspects of ministry expected of clergy:

199. The People of God feel the need for disciple-priests: those who have a deep experience of God, are configured to the heart of the Good Shepherd, docile to the motions of the Spirit, who are nourished by the Word of God, the Eucharist and prayer; for missionary-priests: who are moved by pastoral charity which leads them to care for the flock entrusted to them and to seek out who have strayed furthest, preaching the Word of God, always in deep communion with their bishop, priests, deacons, men and women religious, and lay people; for servant-of-life-priests: who are alert to the needs of the poorest, committed to the defense of the rights of the weakest, and promoters of the culture of solidarity. The need is also for priests full of mercy, available to administer the sacrament of Reconciliation.

Mercy is ever-important.

Continuing formation, sometimes described as continuing conversion is the hallmark of every Christian. Priests are included, and the Aparecida bishops, citing Pope John Paul II, recognize the need.

200. All this requires that dioceses and bishops conferences develop a ministry for priests emphasizing the specific spirituality and permanent and integral formation of priests. The pastoral exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis stresses that:

Permanent or ongoing formation, precisely because it is “permanent,” should always be a part of the priest’s life. In every phase and condition of his life, at every level of responsibility he has in the Church, he is undergoing formation. Clearly then, the possibilities for formation and the different kinds of formation are connected with the variety of ages, conditions of life and duties one finds among priests.(76)

A note for those who have left active ministry:

Taking into account the number of priests who left the ministry, let each particular church seek to establish with them relationships of fraternity and mutual collaboration in accordance with the norms laid down by the Church.

Paragraph 199 is one of the more important expressions of ministry in this document. It applies well to anyone who seeks to serve in the name of Christ.

For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in 2007 Aparecida document, bishops, evangelization and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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