2005, Articles, Raiati

Giving the Priest / 25.09.2005

Loving the priest of your parish will not make him embarrassed because of money. Help him so that he doesn’t have to beg and become arrogant and care about the earned money and so that money wouldn’t become his obsession. When you do so, he will not complain anymore from the dereliction of the parish. Help the theology student or the spiritually intellectual person to enter the service of priesthood without worrying about feeding the family that he will form.

We tried in several places to use the idea of institutes so we made a salary for priests. We didn’t put enough effort to make this salary sufficient in all places. I do understand that small villages are excused for their dereliction. And this means that a central fund must be created in order to take care of the priests of small parishes. However, I believe that the priest’s needs won’t be fulfilled unless we adopt the system of familial or personal subscriptions. When I ask a parish council about the reason for only paying two or three hundred thousand Lebanese pounds for the priest, they answer that this is the amount we are collecting in Church. In principle, the active priest that has a mission influences our people to come back to their churches, but this might take a long time and also some might still not come. Relying on what is collected in church in Sunday’s liturgy doesn’t solve any problem.

I am not in the process of talking about financial organization, but I am talking to you about your love to the priest and expressing this love through giving money. Traditionally, the local pastor is given money for serving Sacraments. After a long thinking, I do not find any problem in keeping this tradition in the places where it became dominant. Very few people don’t give anything. In this case, I hope that the spiritual father doesn’t remind these people of their duties towards him. “You have taken for free, therefore give for free”. The priest should obviously serve the poor and the rich with the same enthusiasm.

For me, it is important for the believer not to think that the parish council pays the priest enough money. Most people don’t know that the status of the priest is usually mediocre. And I don’t think that anyone lives in affluence. It is not your job to tell him to be austere. He imposes austerity on himself, but he cannot impose it on his children. If you had a generous soul, you would wish a life of dignity for everyone you love. And this implies that your pastor must be free from heavy burdens so that he doesn’t sadden his family and become distracted by his quest to make money because, in this case, his spiritual determination will be weakened. Ancient Civilizations used to facilitate the living of people that used to give them intellectual production. Your priest is ashamed to search for a funeral and a wedding in places outside his parish. Don’t make him do that. You, as an individual, can allocate a monthly amount of money for him, even if this amount was small in order to remember that “It is more blessed to give than to take” and to feel that there is a spiritual bond with him that is expressed in a tangible way.

Some people might have a list of families that they help and this is a good thing. Write the name of your priest on this list and on the top of it. If you waited for your son’s baptism to give and waited for your wedding and for someone to die in your family, you might not give your priest more than 10 or 15 times in your whole life and this is a small amount. Give in order to feel that a power went out of you and to feel that you have participated with the servant of the word because he will wish for you every good, success and health.

This is some of the generosity that you redeem yourself with; God becomes happy with you because you are trained, through this, to have vastness. If you put an effort and felt that you have helped, you will feel something greater which is God’s sympathy towards you. What reaches the hands of the priest shouldn’t be the topic that the faithful talk about in their meetings. This issue would be cut once all of you become convinced that the priest prays for you and for your families. Honor him at least with a nominal amount if you were in need and generously if you were affluent in order to become, through giving with love, one body of Christ.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “أن تعطي الكاهن” –Raiati 39- 25.09.2005

Continue reading