by Father Mike Nacius, Chicago Priest and Pastor of Infant Jesus of Prague Parish.
Fr. Mike leads the IJP parish small men’s group ” Men in the Morning” which meets early in the morning one Saturday per month to discuss pertinent topics as they relate to the upcoming Sunday’s Gospel.
‘Father, what can I do for you?’
‘Father, how can I help in the parish?’
These or similar questions can be music to a pastor’s ears as he looks at parish ministry and need that arise from time to time. Having people willing to help out, willing to get involved, willing to share their talents with the parish are important. Without the involvement and investment of parishioner’s parish ministry flounders and eventually would die off.
When I am approached by a man / husband with the above question(s) it is a wonderful opportunity for conversation and discussion about what the parishioner is willing to do as well as what the present needs of the parish are. My first response to the individual is very simple. “Thanks! What you can do for me is love your wife and care for your children.” “What you can do for the parish is to be a caring and dedicated husband and loving father to your children.”
It will be of no support to the parish if you are overly generous of your time in parish ministry and the family and home is neglected. It does not make sense to be away from the home regularly in the name of ‘ministry’ when there is ‘service’ needed by your wife, children and family.
The strength of the parish is the strength of the family. Keeping proper balance in activities at the parish and in parish ministries always needs to be balanced with the needs and responsibilities in the home.
It is my hope that parishioners will be generous in giving of their time, talent and treasure to be the backbone and strength of the local parish. It is my prayer that parishioners will be loving, generous and dedicated to their families as the cornerstone and pillars of the local church.