This past Saturday, Pope Francis met with the Roman Curia to deliver the annual papal Christmas message. True to form, the pope kept it brief and didn’t hold back. And the three points he made are very applicable to our own parishes.
First, the Pope spoke about the strong need for professional skill and competence. He stated that “when professionalism is lacking, there is a slow slide toward the area of mediocrity.” This point is quite applicable in our local parishes, as well. It is easy for pastors, parish staff, and lay leaders to get caught up in the mundane daily tasks of running a parish and, ultimately, these key parish figures can lose sight of what is most important and fall out of touch with their parishioners.
The Pope’s second point was that the Curia is at the service of the ENTIRE church. And when we look at our parish staff and leaders, the ones that are effective see their role as servants to the ENTIRE parish, and not just the select few staff members and key leaders who are the most involved.
Pope Francis’ last point focused on the importance of the holiness of life; the most important of the three points. He also added that holiness has an enemy that damages people and institutions. That enemy is gossip, which is something that is all too rampant in many of our lives, and unfortunately is a huge stumbling block to developing strong and vibrant parishes.
The more emphasis we place on professionalism, competence, and skill in the things we’re presenting to and for parishioners — which is something we at CSC provide to our client parishes — the more effective our parishes will become at developing disciples of Jesus. The more our parish leaders see themselves as servants to the entire parish and not in a role to serve themselves and a select few, the more effective our parishes will become at developing disciples of Jesus. And the more our parish leaders focus on striving to live holy lives and turn away from petty gossip, the more effective our parish will become at developing disciples of Jesus.
To read the full text of Pope Francis’ message, click here.