ROME –– Larry Hayes was recently appointed by the General Definitory in Rome to a newly-formed “Commission for Aid on Parochial Pastoral Activity.”
Comprised of friars from various countries, and chaired by Br. Nestor Schwerz, the Secretary General for Evangelization, the Commission is charged with drafting an aid that “should be worked out in the form of a booklet, where the Franciscan method of being present and acting in parochial pastoral work, and the way of ‘franciscanizing’ the pastoral directives of the local Church, should be underlined.”
The aid should help the 30-some-percent of friars worldwide who are engaged in parish ministry “to enrich Church life through our specific contribution: the values of our charism, spirituality, and form of Gospel life,” Larry said.
The general scheme for proposed aid includes a history of friars in parishes, theological/pastoral bases of the parish, Franciscan characteristics of parish ministry, mission parishes, present challenges and possibilities, and an assessment tool for local ministries.
The meeting in Rome allowed for a rich exchange of ideas, attitudes and experiences among the friars, Larry said.
“I was surprised to learn that there exists suspicion, if not fear, among some friars about our involvement in parish ministry,” he said. “ ‘Is such work consonant with our charism?’ remains an active question for some. There was considerable talk about the need for special formation to parish ministry which confused me, until Dominic Monti shared with me that not all friar formation programs include the pastoral coursework and placements that we enjoy in our province.”
Larry, who is pastor of St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, Md., mentioned that he was very happy that the first draft of the aid, when completed, will be shared with friars from various continents for their feedback and suggestions before a final booklet is issued.
Details on the commission are available in the Dec. 1 issue of the Order’s newsleter which can be found on HNP’s Web site.