Your current assignment: As a Joyful Catholic, each day be a smile-collector. It’s easy because often you’ll find that your smile is contagious. When you greet a stranger and add his smile to your daily tally, your smile might be the only smile that poor soul will get all day. So, each day, collect a bundle of smiles!
Not recommended reading!
Although The New Yorker is one of my favorite magazines, they blew in the August 31 issue with the article, “God in the Quad”, written by James Wood, who reminds me of a self-admiring professor who is so enthralled by the sound of his voice that he rambles on with intellectual jargon. In this overflow of theological slop, he attempts to wow you by quoting twenty-two thinkers.
Recommended fellow blog site: wau.org. This is produced by Joe Difato and his splendid staff at The Word Among Us, which is part of my daily reading.
What Can Priests Do To Help Themselves?
Every morning, each priest should ask himself, “What shall I do today to help correct the misconception that all Catholic priests are pedophiles?”
With this goal in mind, it is important for a priest to plan much exposure in public places. By doing this, he can be a successful herald for the Church.
Like in the old time carnival days, have the guts to stick your head through the canvas.
It is understood that you must be available for your parishioners – it’s in your job description. This is not too difficult because meeting fellow Catholics is like greeting those at a family reunion. You are accepted with respect. But this is not always the case when you dive into cold non-Catholic waters. You cannot be assured of receiving a friendly reception. For that reason, it might require courage to face those who are not yet in the fold.
Perhaps each week you could have a leisurely breakfast alone at the counter in a popular food place. Say “hello” to those sitting on either side. Get to know the names of the help. Enliven the place with your personal warmth.
Branch out in your neighborhood.
Make a cold-turkey call on each non-Catholic family living within a one-block radius of the rectory. Get to know them and occasionally invite them for tea. For many, this will be the first experience of seeing the inside of a priest’s home.
In a church I attended for many years, the resident monsignor pastor let it be known that he hated the neighbors. Needless to say, they reciprocated his feeling. When Christ saw this, he must have cringed.
Suggestion # 3
To get more exposure in the outside world, every week, go shopping alone in a supermarket.
I have seen Protestant ministers, top executives and celebrities pushing carts in a grocery store. But never have I seen a priest doing this. Even if the shopping jaunt is to buy only one or two items, each week spend half an hour pushing a cart slowly up and down the aisles in order to see and be seen by other shoppers.
Join a civic organization.
Many years ago, Fr. Hartke of Catholic University became a popular member of the Kiwanis Club of Washington, DC. With his active participation, he got to know the top business leaders in the city, and he was an excellent Ambassador of Goodwill for the Church. Service organizations such a Kiwanis, Rotary, and Optimists Clubs often have Protestant ministers as members. However, having a priest as a member will be a rarity. Break the ice!
* * * * * * * * *
Although these suggested actions will put new demands on your time, the same is true for a layman. He also has to prioritize his hours for promoting himself and his cause, while devoting time for his profession, his family, friends, church and the community.
As a priest, you cannot give the impression that you are a ‘private person’, avoiding exposure to the outside world. A ‘private person’ can be viewed as one who has good reason to be private. Don’t hide your worthy self. Keep your candle on top of the table. If you put it down below, it will benefit no one. Also, it might set the table on fire.
(And what are your thoughts?)
Joyful Catholic Quiz
(The first to send the right answers will receive a gift copy of
1. Who is the shepherdess saint, born in 422, and is now the patroness of the city of Paris?
2. When a new pope is elected, who selects his name?
3. Who was the fisherman apostle, brother of the fellow apostle John, and the first apostle to suffer martyrdom (beheaded by Herod Agrippa 1)?
A little girl watched her mother slaving all day in preparing for a dinner party. That night, seated at the large table filled with many guests, her mother asked her to say grace. When the child protested she didn’t know a grace, her mother said sharply, “Well, just say a prayer you have heard me say.”
After a moment of silence, the little girl said, “Dear Lord, why did I invite all these people to dinner tonight?”