The Archdiocese of Detroit recently released a survey of the faithful that addressed many issues, including answers to the question: What characteristics are important in a quality pastor?
Here’s what topped the list:
Sounds like a pastor for the New Evangelization, eh? One with a welcoming spirit of hospitality, especially to those who might be far from the Church, someone who can connect Scripture and preaching to the real, felt needs of people, and someone who can invite people into that critical, personal relationship with Jesus that changes everything, and then challenge everyone to live a life of discipleship.
It’s great that many of us desire these characteristics in our pastors. And hopefully, we pray for our priests and pastors that they might grow in these personal characteristics so vital for the New Evangelization.
However, our responsibility doesn’t end there. Many of the characteristics rated “very important” for pastor quality are ones that won’t bear full fruit, from even the best pastor, unless there are co-workers–us, the people in the pews–who also step up to the plate. The New Evangelization demands co-workers in the pews, not merely consumers.
And this isn’t a new idea. In 1965, the Venerable Pope Paul VI wrote that without each of the baptized sharing in the role of Christ as prophet, priest, and king the “apostolate of the pastors is often unable to achieve its full effectiveness” (§10).
Without a doubt we all want pastors for the New Evangelization. But are we parishioners for the New Evangelization?
It’s easy to grow complacent, especially if you’re blessed with a great pastor who seems to embody all these characteristics on his own. Before I realize it, I can become a consumer, rather than a coworker in my parish. And I think, even lay ministers can fall into this trap as well. Good food for thought for all of us, as we strive to live out evangelization in our local parishes.
This post originally appeared at the NewEvangelizers blog.