Parish Practice

Get the balance right Premium

14 August 2014 | by Bernard Cotter

It is good for priests to look for saintly role models, but it is not always easy to find someone whose example offers insights into how to deal with the extraordinary demands of contemporary life There’s a certain irony in the Church’s suggestion of St John Vianney (the Curé of Ars) as a patron saint for parish priests. Many would certainly appreciate his pastoral zeal for the good of the people of the parish. But the circumstances of parish life have changed so much since his day: St John might have heard confessions for up to 16 hours a day, but many priests, on busy days, would be lucky to go 16 minutes without something to distract them from the pastoral task at hand: doorbell, mobile phone, emails, urgent correspondence, parishioners with seemingly pressing needs

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