Presbyterorum Ordinis

In paragraph n.6 of the document, we read the following: “No Christian community, however, is built up unless it has its basis and centre in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist; from this, therefore, all education to the spirit of community must take its origins. This celebration, if it is to be genuine and complete, should lead to various works of charity and mutual help, as well as to missionary activity and to different forms of Christian witness.” Out of this basis and centre there are a number of points made in relation to the work of the Church (ecclesial) community and the priest who works within the community and for the community.

  1. The ecclesial community by prayer, example and works of penance, exercise a true motherhood towards souls who are to be led towards Christ. This point outlines how those who are nourished by listening to the Word and celebrating and receiving the Eucharist during the Sunday liturgy react through prayer and witnessing to the gospel through their actions, both by example and penance, can help others who have started the faith journey to be guided towards the Lord. Celebrating on Sundays is not isolated from the rest of our time during the week it is what should inspire our living of the faith within the faith community in all its aspects during the week whether that be though, Church activities or in the workplace, the school environment or places of recreation.
  2. The Christian community forms an effective instrument by which the path to Christ and his Church is pointed out and made smooth for non-believers. How we live as Christian community can inspire those who are outside the faith to begin a journey to Christ and become a member of the Body of Christ, the Church.
  3. It is an effective instrument also for arousing, nourishing and strengthening the faithful for their spiritual combat. The Christian community can help individual members to discover different ways that may help them in their spiritual journey in a world where the Christian faith and spirituality is attacked, ridiculed or just ignored by so many.
  4. The priest has a role in all of this because in building the Christian community, priests are never to put themselves at the service of some human faction of ideology, but, as heralds of the Gospel and shepherds of the Church, they are to spend themselves for the spiritual growth of the Body of Christ.

Preaching, teaching and guiding the People of God, the members of the Body of Christ, the Christian church in his care, are the core of the priestly life. Nourished by the Eucharist, the priest’s witness, teaching, sharing of the Good News, guiding and guarding as the shepherd guides and guards the flock is crucial to the development of a vibrant parish and a role that is taken on by men who are themselves, raised in the faith by their Christian community and who are often inspired by a priest they have encountered in their Christian community or through some Church activity like the ‘World Youth Day’ that has been on in Lisbon and finishes this Sunday.