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Posted February 12, 2007

Article: Diocesan Presbyterate Examines Its Role:
Priests of Wilmington, Del.

Origins: February 15, 2007. Vol. 36. No. 35

Taken from Introduction of Document:

Seventeen recommendations made by the priests of the diocese regarding their priestly ministry were approved Jan. 18 at an annual meeting of the diocese’s priests, deal with the priest’s role, the coordination of ministry within multiparish clusters, the distribution of priests, priestly fraternity, communications and positive priestly role models. In describing what the priests believe their essential roles are, the recommendations also say that some duties may better be done by others. “An overwhelming majority of priests,” it said, “are performing activities and fulfilling roles that they do not consider to be proper to the ministry of a priest.” In this context, the recommendations discussed the value of ecclesial lay ministry. Moreover, the recommendations said, “most priests do not believe that it is essential for a priest to do administrative/managerial work.” The “shortage of priest personnel” was noted in the recommendations, which added that there is “no need for parishes to duplicate some services” and said that gifts and talents “can be shared across parish and deanery boundaries.”

Excerpts from the Text:

“It is a part of the reality of priestly ministry in the Diocese of Wilmington that more and more priests are living alone and do not have the opportunity to engage in prayer and/or intellectual discussion with a brother priest.”

“The top priority for any priest is preaching and the celebration of the sacraments, primarily the Eucharist. Everything else he does must point to this goal . . .Solidarity necessitates certain exigencies, for example, interparochial cooperation, pastors and associates working as co-ministers with the bishop, and personal support provided by a spiritual director, priestly support groups, professional help, ongoing formation and quality times for prayer. The role of friendship is critical for a healthy priesthood. Quote from “Priestly Identity, a Multifaceted Reality” by Father Gerald Coleman