Friday, October 12, 2012

The Priest and the New Evangelization

Rev. John Bartunek's presentation entitled Making All Things New: The Priest in the New Evangelization was arguably the best talk at the conference. (So if you haven't bought any recordings yet, now is the time.)

The priesthood, Fr. Bartunek stated immediately, is for the Church and for others. Rather than give a theological exposition of the priesthood, he instead listed three demands being made on priests now, and ways laypeople can help meet those demands.
  1. Priests will need to be ready for martyrdom.
    There were no analogies about "a kind of martyrdom." This is real death he's talking about. The springtime of the Church comes only after the planting of seeds, and the seed of the Church is the blood of the martyrs.

    Things laypeople should do: pray for priests

  2. Priests will need to work harder than ever. There are more souls in grave need than ever before due to increased population, decreased prevalence of Christiantiy, increased prevalence of ex-Christianity and new atheism, and new sorrows (abortion, drugs, porn). There are fewer priests in many places.

    Things laypeople should do: connect the spiritually and physically needy to the priests (keep the priests busy)
    . Things like the Legion of Mary, Regnum Christi, and dozens of other lay movements are terrific at this. New media initiatives are also excellent.

  3. Priests will need to renew their commitment to becoming experts in things of God. Priests should be examples of great holiness and they must be specialists in promoting the interior life or the encounter with God. They must pray, be men of God, and nourished by grace.

    Things laypeople should do: ask priests to do priestly things! It reminds them of their calling.
    Have a priest give a benediction to your group or bless your house/office/car/dog/wine (I'm serious)! Just like patients remind doctors of their vocation, laypeople remind priests. It's a brilliant setup.
The last one is my favorite, but I love it all. Bl. John Paul II said that the world looks to the priest in this time of turmoil. Let us look to the priest, strengthen him, and help others to find him, too!

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