Question: How might we better equip ordained ministers to be enablers of missionary discipleship: the Church becoming more a “priestly people” served by the ordained ministry?
CAST YOUR NET INTO THE DEEP
At the heart of the crisis of the Church today is a crisis of identity in all levels of the Church. Our Lord invites us to cast our net into the deep in this Plenary Council and to find anew a renewal of continuity in accordance with what the Lord has revealed to us. Concerning the ordained ministers, who are the “stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor 4:1), we need to reawaken ourselves to this truth so that our ordained can better serve in their role. It is not regressing to appeal for a return to the fundamental understanding of a bishop, priest, or deacon. In fact, whilst it is ever ancient it is always ever new.
In conjunction with equipping our ecclesial leaders with a solid and wholistic understanding regarding their role and nature, serious ongoing intellectual, human, spiritual, psychological, practical, and pastoral formation is to be instructed. In doing so, those in charge of the flock of Christ can better serve the needs of those entrusted to their care in a rapidly growing and changing technological and sociological world. Thus, the need for the Church to equip its ministers with the formation and resources and to not merely continue to evangelise via the traditional methods but also via the new platforms made available today via social media. Therefore, we need a national working group to assume this evangelical role and to have an active and engaging presence in the arena of social media and the like. This group should sponsor renewal and specific programs to share to the dioceses and eparchies in Australia.
For these renewals to successfully take effect, there needs to be an open and respectful collaboration between the shepherds of the church and the people of God. A spirit of missionary voluntarism by the laity and a spirit of evangelical service and fervour from all the hierarchical levels of the ordained will renew our service, devotion and love for the Lord and the mission that he has invited us to share. In doing so, we each come to understand our authentic identity, lay and ordained, and remain faithful to Christ.
Monsignor Marcelino Youssef is the Vicar General of the Maronite Eparchy of Australia, New Zealand and Oceania