A recent article by CMSM Executive Director Fr. John Pavlik, OFM Cap. in Our Sunday Visitor reflects on the importance of the exercise of the prophetic vocation in the ministry of the priesthood.
Is it possible or desirable for priests more deliberately to manifest a prophetic dimension of our vocation?
Would people who know you say that you are prophetic in your ministry?
Recently, I conversed with a fellow priest of a large Southern U.S. diocese as we awaited the commencement of a long liturgical procession. Anglo-Caucasians, he and I stood among the marvelous ethnic diversity of the presbyterate in a vibrant local church set among an economically thriving mixed urban-suburban-rural metro region. This priest told me that he pastors a parish huge in both numbers of parishioners and in territory.
Obviously perceptive and well-studied, this pastor replied thoughtfully to my question about issues confronting his congregation. In conversation he named a few: immigrant families attending to their offspring becoming acculturated to U.S. society; youths somewhat disaffected from the regular exercise of religion; religious education needs for all parishioners stretching the constrained resources of the congregation; uncertainty and fear regarding a new phrase in national leadership; and a norm for families of long hours of labor to provide sufficiently where cellphone packages can cost $500 or more per month, coupled with a recognition that strong family life demands personal presence and shared affection.
Thinking about this article on the prophetic dimension of our priesthood, I wondered how he would respond to these reflections examining a dimension of our ministry that our complex responsibilities might seem variously to take for granted, honor and/or ignore.