In the question and answer column of the Peace Weekly a young priest asks an older priest who manages the column, what he needs to do to have a vibrant parish? The young priest was just made a pastor after years as assistant. He has asked many of his senior priests for advice, but they all had different answers, confused, he wrote to the priest columnist for help.
The young priest will not have an
assistant; as pastor he will not only need to relate with the young, as
he did as an assistant, but with all the parishioners, besides the
responsibility for administration. The columnist responds there
are no areas of parish life that are not important, but he would select
the work with the elderly as the most important.
are the pillars of the parish. They are the ones closest to God. They pray the most and pray for others, the most altruistic; they are the
ones that pray for the priest and defend the priest from criticism, the
most loyal to the parish and the Church.
in his experience in one of the parishes as pastor, with the division
of the parish he lost most of the older people, and lost most of the
income. They are the ones who support the parish. With
the drop of the elders the religious goods store could no longer
operate. The spirituality of the parish was noticibly weakened. When concern is made for the elders the families are pleased and thankful. Nobody has difficulty with the choice.
reason is that our society shows little concern for the elders. In a
society where money is important the elders go to the periphery. Jesus
has told us what we do for the lowly, we do for Jesus. Our society looks on those who are not earning as
useless, and they suffer unfairly.
This older generation
has built the society we now have and are not respected for their work and are ignored, which has given them deep scares. This is one of the
reasons the Church has to fight against the spirit of the times,
and be on the side of the elderly.
believes with concern for the elderly the other areas
of the parish will run smoothly. There are a few parish priests, who
when addressing the elderly will use crude language. He feels this is a
fault that comes from their upbringing. There are those who have
an anger towards their own parents which is expressed with the elderly.
we have more concern for money than spirituality, he concludes, we will find that we
will neglect the old people. The mature and healthy mentality of the
priest is often known by the way they treat the old people in the
parish. Also well to remember that when God selected Abraham, and Moses to do his work both were over 75 years old.