PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: Pastors, parishioners lead parish together

By FATHER JIM CESTA

This issue of “More Good News” highlights the cavalcade of pastors who have served this parish over nearly 125 years.

Of course, every practicing and devoted parishioner knows full well that a parish is far more than just the pastor, or even assistant priests or other religious personnel.

But everyone also knows that the pastor sets the tone in many ways. In some cases, the “ways” of the pastor can set a course that helps the parish to survive, thrive, or maybe falter and fail.

Mount Carmel / Blessed Sacrament has been for so long a time blessed with many dedicated and gifted priests, so many of the Scalabrini order and of the Diocese of Syracuse.

Being a pastor of a Catholic community of faith, a parish household, can be challenging as well as awesomely wonderful.

In these days when many Catholics do not practice our faith, or support the parish in any way — but still want it up and running for baptisms, weddings, funerals and other things (hospital visits, counseling) — it’s quite the challenge for the one at the helm of the ship. Unfortunately, some pastors find the situation overwhelming and lonely, seeing the joy of their vocation diminishing.

A good pastor will be generous in sharing the areas of his life that he excels at and recognizing the areas that he is weak. No one can be good at all things, so pulling together and encouraging others to make the parish work is so vital.

Being involved in leading a Catholic parish means some pain, criticism, opposition, along with trying to smooth the rough spots among people on the parish team.

The Mass, which is the source and summit of our faith, is a very good barometer and visible sign of the health of the parish. If the weekend worship encourages more involved and even new members, plus a deeper faith and invitation to enjoy the church experience with glad hearts, then, I believe that’s half the battle.