Newspaper Archive of
Arkansas Catholic
Litlte Rock, Arkansas
May 3, 1974     Arkansas Catholic
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May 3, 1974

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THE GUARDIAN, MAY 3, 1974 PAGE 15"R 'Whom Shall I Send?' (l"ollowing is a text on the diocesan priesthood, written by Father John I,. Rea, Dayton, O., Archdiocesan Vocation l)irector. It appeared in the ('atholic Telegraph of Dayton). A young man thinking, even remotely, about becoming a priest should get a clear idea of what is meant by a "secular" priest. He is a member of the "diocesan" clergy, in contrast to the "religious" priest who belongs to a particulr religious order. Sometimes "secular" is used to mean "worldy." Ob- viously, that should not be and is not, the meaning in this case. The diocesan priest is a priest who, instead of ,joining a l:Q0astery or religious com- munity, lives in the world, in a parish, among the very people he is sent to serve. He lives in the world in order to help make it a better place. "Father, I do not pray that You take them out of the world, even as I am not of the world," is the way Jesus Himself put it in His Last Supper prayer for His first priests. Of course, the essential characteristic of the diocesan priest is the same as that of all other priests: the fact that he shares the ministerial Priesthood of Jesus Christ. Every priest is the continuation of Christ through space and time. He is not merely a representative of Christ; he is what Christ is. In the very person of Christ, he presides at the Eucharistic Liturgy, forgives sins and administers the other sacraments.. When he gives his blessing, it is Christ Himself who blesses. In this 'Here I Am, Send Me' basic sense all priests are the same. What officially distinguishes the secular or diocesan priest is the fact that he is united by a permanent and intimate bond with a bishop who is the shepherd of souls in a diocese. (A diocese is a geographical division of a state or country.) The Bishop alone possesses the fullness of the priesthood of Christ with the power to rule the Church with the Pope. But in order to adequately discharge this pastoral duty, the Bishop must have a body of Priests united with him in a permanent manner and directly subject to him. By ordination, a secular priest becomes attached per- manently to a particular diocese and hence is called a diocesan priest. He makes a solemn promise to obey his Bishop. the Catholic Social Services and the Catholic Youth Organization. Many diocesan priests work in other important areas of the Bishop's pastoral responsibility such as teaching, inner city parishes, the black apostolate, campus ministry, vocation education and promotion, providing chaplain services to the military and to public institutions and many other apostolates. But whatever his assignment, the identity of the diocesan priest rests in his close and constant participation in the apostolate of the bishop. For it is primarily through his diocesan priests that the bishop teaches, rules,, and sanctifies his people. Until death they share his priestly cares and labdrs and projects, his sorrows In becoming a diocesan priest, then, a young man declares his desire to devote his priestly life to serving the people within a certain diocese, under the immediate authority of his Bishop. In that diocese he will live and work and die, accepting from his Bishop whatever responsibility is assigned to him in caring for the needs of the people. Ordinarily, he will first be assigned to a parish as an associate pastor and later will be named a pastor in charge of the souls within his parish limits. Some diocesan priests are assigned to special ad- ministrative positions, such as working in the Chancery or in and hopes and joys. They also share, according to their con- dition, in his position of ex- cellence and his obligation of interior holiness of life. The diocesan priest, living among and for his people, is given the task and the thrill of touching human souls w i t h Christ's healing hand. For his people, he is Christ in the rectory, in the school yard, in the parish hall, in the in- stitutions for the sick and aged. He is Christ in the homes of his parishioners and on the street. But above all, he is Christ at the altar, where he gathers his people together to offer a fitting sacrifice to the Father. This is the life and work of a secular or diocesan priest. 6' Shine PIrlor Hours: Mon& Fri. Open 7 : 30 A.M. - 7 P.M. Hours: Toes, Wed. Thurs. Sat. Open 7:30 A.M. To 5:30 P.M. Shoe Repair & Dyeing Shoe Prescription 42 Years in Downtown L. R. 113V2 Main Phone 372-6830 Loading ,Zone Provided in Fron,,t Our Diocesan Goal 100 New Priests in 10 Years No Calling Is More Noble or Challenging Than The Holy Priesthood In Arkansas, Young Men Can Arrange To Test Themselves in the Seminary for A Vocation By Calling Rev. Joseph L. Pallo Diocesan Vocations Director 2500 N. Tyler, Little Rock Phone: -- 663-9435