The membership of the parish council is not an honorary position for anyone. It is a commissioning of work. Therefore, no one should stick to this membership. It is given to the person that we find qualified, and we might commit a mistake in our selection. It is not acceptable for someone to stay for a long time in the council so that we allow others to serve and so that the maximum number of qualified believers practice service. If the time of the council ended and it wasn’t renewed for someone of its members, this wouldn’t be a denial for his virtues, and changing doesn’t carry sadness. It is a chance for others. Composing the council shouldn’t cause any disturbance in the parish. This issue shouldn’t cause a head ache for the bishop. Any complaint concerning this subject is very tiring for us.

Then we have to understand that we are all servants, “this all is from God and not from us” as Apostle Paul says. In addition to that, the deputy is not a boss over the priest or over any other member. I don’t like to hear someone saying: I built, and I give the priest his salary. No one owes the other especially that no one spends anything from his pocket. The council wasn’t made responsible for the whole parish as there are independent activities from the council especially the work of the youth. The council should give our youth the existing halls to use, and no one should follow the mood of a deputy. The council welcomes every activity blessed by the bishop or priest.

Also the responsibility of the council isn’t only to build and restore. Its first responsibility in the financial issue is to secure the priest’s salary. We want the priest to be supported and not needy. The council doesn’t decide alone this issue because the law obliges the council to put a budget that the archdiocese accept. The council suggests the salary of the priest to the bishop and he decides it because the council doesn’t own the Church properties and no one does. God is the only owner. I get very annoyed when some people say: This is what our ancestors gave. When your ancestor gave this property, he gave it up, and you are not his inheritor in administration.

After securing the priest’s need, there are the poor, Jesus’ beloved and cosseted ones. If these were Jesus’ cosseted ones, they should also be the same for the council members. I receive a lot of poor people from different villages. These are under the responsibility of the village and not the archdiocese especially that 90% of villages or more do not participate in the expenses of the archdiocese. Some parishes are affluent but they still neglect their poor people. The poor are our masters as Saint John the merciful said. Do not stack your money in the banks. This is against the Bible. The Lord wants you to spend your money on the needy so that they feel that the Church is their mother. If we took real care of the poor, our Churches wouldn’t have stayed empty on Sundays. The poor person feels that he is marginalized by the sect.

The excuse that I don’t accept is to say to the poor: We have a construction project that should be completed. My question for you is the following: How does this person live until your project ends? Construction takes years. During this period, he has to eat and educate his children. Our children are more important than all your Churches. The Church is the people and not the stones. Instead of bragging about beautiful large temples, brag about your love towards each other. Therefore, spend continuously on the poor, and if any money is left you can have construction projects.

I hope that you stop the old thinking that you are used to and “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”. Through this you shall be saved and through this you will witness that you are good deputies.

We need a spiritual insurrection in which you show that you love your priest and every financially weak person. Do not sadden the Lord’s Spirit.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “مجالس الرعايا والفقراء” –Raiati 6- 10.02.2002