2004, Articles, Raiati

The Defect in Parish Councils / 20.06.2004

I started to have a tendency to believe that the law of councils that organizes us doesn’t suit an archdiocese of villages and the reason behind that is the crises of the villagers and their familial and personal conflicts. I have spoken a lot about this but we didn’t have any progress in many parishes. The thing that controls minds is that the council must represent families but when the spiritual authority used to have two or three representatives, it didn’t include all families. Families have their village policy and a history of their conflicts and this must stay on the boundary of the Church because you must enter the Church repentant, i.e. free from past attachments and from the collisions of your family with others.

And the more important thing is that you are an individual in the ecclesiastic community and you don’t enter this community coming from your parents. You enter Church from your piety and power to serve and you unite with your fellows through your piety and theirs and through this, you become one.

I don’t want to analyze the reasons behind the crack in our parishes. This is an issue studied by sociologists and I don’t want to look backwards. “I Forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead” as Apostle Paul says. If the bishop called you to be enlisted for Christ’s service through the parish council “do not consult any human being” as the apostle also says, but cooperate inside the council as it was assigned. You might not like the list of people and I don’t think that we could get perfect people. We might miss out on great faces that no one told us about. We might not succeed in finding equilibrium between families as tribal people want. For God’s sake, show me a way to find the best people. And even if they were the best, they might still not be in harmony with others and work will be delayed.

You might also not like the priest, but I have no other priest and another priest might also not be liked by others. I cannot fabricate priests and very few people, having the required qualities, offer themselves. We are in a constant quest to send students to the theology institute and we have nine students now.

Wisdom says that you should deal with the existing priest if he didn’t commit terrible mistakes that the law punish him for. You are also with the existing bishop, and you can tell him your remarks. He is present to hear these remarks.

If we wanted to create councils that don’t make us tired, this requires unlimited love and a humility that excludes tyrannical opinions because the thing that rules our church life is consultation, distribution of responsibilities, money and record control and everything related to that, and patience that has no value unless we worked according to the Lord’s commandment: “everyone who endures to the end will be saved”. If any of you felt that he doubts the other and his righteousness and loyalty, blame each other with love and let those that have their opinions and didn’t have doubts make the judgment. Complete your issues between each other and do not knock the archbishopric’s door to interfere in details. Do not come to the archbishopric as if it is a court. The bishop has more important things to do than to judge between people whose love weakened and patience decreased.

Call the Holy Spirit sincerely before the meeting so that he inspires you with what is good, with good talking, right thinking and everything that gives good things to your parish and do not forget to enhance the living of the priest and the status of the poor who is the first between us. Do not stack your money waiting for future projects while having among you hungry people, sick people and children in schools. These are people and are more important than stones. If you loved the parish that you serve with the priest, the parish shall notice that and give generously.

One of you might see that the project wanted by the majority is not the best project. Don’t be sad if he committed a mistake and do not become separated from those who voted with him. This world tolerates the right and wrong. Nothing justifies sadness and sulk that are spread among us. Be one in the love of Jesus Christ and the brothers.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “الخلل في مجالس الرعية” –Raiati 25- 20.06.2004

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