As the results of our faith sharing on the priesthood from the different barangays came in, I felt some what intrigued and at the same time amused by the results. It intrigued me because I never really expected that the lay expectations from priests are so simple and so practical so that I am led to conclude that our people are not so demanding as we thought them to be. I even told one group “Why haven’t you told us this before, that you expect us to be like this - simple wants, simple desires, simple dreams for your priests?” And she answered, “Father, we’re afraid you will take it as an affront to your person.” The results show that a lot of dialogue has still to take place between priest and lay so that collaboration and co-responsibility in the church will work.
I also said that the results amused me for the reason that I for my part in trying to become more efficient in my service to the people, am trodding the wrong way. Blame it on the sophistication which my theology years learning about theories on pastoral ministry implanted on me which I should say, only muddled the simplicity of my call. In the results I found out that what our people want from our priest is that we become shepherds - where presence is important, where availabity especially during crisis moments or emergencies are momentous and where relationships are meaningful. Shepherds - this is what people want and expect from their priests - not theologians, not efficient managers sitting behind their desks, but shepherds.
For this I would like to thank the people, especially our faith sharing groups whose simplicity of heart has taught me to appreciate my own priesthood. I am ever more challenged and made courageous.
In this issue we have with us once more Cynch Baga who writes about the importance of relationships and friendships of priests especially among women - which in our survey is of primordial importance to our parishioners. We hope that this issue will both benefit us priests and our lay women whose collaborative work demands healthy friendships in a celibate fashion - a friendship that could either bring much fruit to the community and to the priest’s pastoral ministry or to its failure.