Gathering the Sheep
April 22, 2018
My dear parishioners,
A parish pastor (Latin for shepherd) is entrusted the pastoral care of a parish community. According to Canon 519, he is committed to this responsibility under the authority of the (Arch)diocesan bishop whose ministry of Christ the pastor has been called to share.
Since it is difficult and almost impossible for a bishop to personal-ly and effectively take care of all the parishes in his diocese, he shares and entrusts this responsibility to priests who are appointed as pastors. These pastors, likewise, are helped by other priests and deacons in perform-ing the functions of teaching and preaching, sanctifying and blessing, governing and serving this Christian community. They are also assisted by lay members of the parish community.
As your shepherds (pastors), their model is the Lord Jesus himself. He is the Good Shepherd, and they should follow His example of shepherding. The readiness and will-ingness of Jesus to sacrifice for His flock, even to the point of giving up His life, is what makes Him the Good Shepherd. Tender love and genuine compassion, loving service and total sacrifice—these are the trademarks of the Good Shepherd. And this is what your pastors are trying hard to emulate, unfortunately with less or intermittent success.
The pastor’s manner or style of shepherding his flock is greatly influenced by his per-sonality, spirituality, talent and ability. As they say, different folks, different strokes. That is why some pastors are effective, others are not; some are well-liked, others are not so popular; some inspire and bring people closer to the Church, others disappoint and drive people away from the parish, if not from the Church.
But all these notwithstanding, I can say that all priests, at the earliest stage of their ministry, were all sincere in their efforts to be good shepherds. Sadly, along the way, some of us fail miserably while others turn lukewarm in their efforts to be good priests and pastors. But most of us persist, though we know that even with the best of our ef-forts, we can never be totally like the Good Shepherd Himself. At least, we cannot be faulted for lack of trying.
This is where lay members of the community play a very important role. This is where we, your pastors, need you most. First, we need you to be patient with us when we fal-ter and fail in the performance of our pastoral ministry. We need you to understand us when we do not meet your expectations because of our natural limitations. We need you to forgive us when we sin and hurt you and the whole community. We need you to pray for us always.
Secondly, we need you to assist us in our pastoral ministry. Be active parishioners. Use your time, talent and treasure to help our parish community grow. Use the time God has given you by regularly and actively participating in our liturgical celebrations espe-cially in the Sunday Mass. Use the talents God has given you by joining the different ministries in our parish. Use the treasure God has given you by donating to the parish more generously. Be a concerned parishioner. This is your parish; you belong to it; it belongs to you.
Beginning this issue of the parish bulletin, we will be publishing the list of members of the different parish committees, ministries and organizations. This way we get to know and thank our parishioners who are actively helping in the pastoral care of our parish. And hopefully, through this, you may be inspired to join one of those ministries.
May the Good Shepherd guide us always.