Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"The Role of the Priest in the Parish in Secular Society"

(SOC-WAD) - Considering myself to be still among the youngest of the brethren, and hence less experienced then many, I approached this subject with fear and trembling ... not as much because I knew that this paper was going to be presented before the Bishop and my brother priests, but more so because, as are all things, it is presented before God, who is the one to whom we must answer for our every word. In thinking about this enormous topic, I drew from my experience growing up in this country and serving the Church in my adult life in various capacities for now 20 years. This includes my work as a lay person as well as my service to the Church as a priest. The seriousness of this subject is one which causes the most fear, because more and more each day I am convinced that the influence of what is commonly called secularism on the work of the priest and parish is greater and greater. Having heard the presentation of Fr. Petar Jovanovic on this subject, I have chosen to focus my presentation on The Work of the Priest and Pastoral Ministry in our contemporary American secular society. The question I hope to address is: How did the parish, and hence the role of the priest get to be what it is during century in the United States - What some have called the Missionary period - which was the bringing together of "our people" who fled their homes after the catastrophe of what befell the "old country."

The early part of this century saw the rise of "immigrant parishes" where our people came, so they thought, "To live in a better time and place." A new pastor of these communities also found himself as an "Eastern orthodox" in a Western society, with all of its western cultural thought and ways.

We have to try to understand that what was very important for those early "immigrant communities" - what was their great desire and what they longed for - was to be fully integrated, fully accepted into American life... to move beyond their own identity and mentality and often they asked the priest to help them do this. And we should not forget that all this was happening during a time when the church was struggling merely to survive. And so the priests and communities who came from a basically agrarian setting, began the difficult process of engaging the spiritual struggles of life in a secularized, non-agrarian, and industrial society. Among the questions raised during this time were Order and Procedure in the Church, as well as sacramental and liturgical discipline. When we look at our communities today, it appears obvious that in many ways they are the outcome of this beginning.

In order to fully understand the role of the priest in the parish in America today, the agenda of the secularists who have and are still dominating the educational system, the media, the entertainment business, the courts, and government, must be clearly stated. This secular agenda, this vision of life includes the following concepts...
Complete article here.

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