AN EXTRA VICAR IS VISITING PARISHONERS DURING CHRISTMAS PERIOD
FR. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
I would like to note the role of a priest, who, although does not come in person, he is surely an assistant for a priest, that is, he holds the function in the parish like a vicar
A priest is visiting his parishioners – this is a sentence repeated by believers in the period of Christmas. In churches priests announce their desires to pay a pastoral visit to believers in towns and villages and on streets we often meet a priest accompanied by altar boys, visiting our houses. This is a beautiful Polish custom which abounds with many interesting talks, cognitive elements for a priest and believers. It is also possible to get an advice from a priest then, tell him about one’s problems, suggest something good. So, it is good that there is such a tradition and that everywhere where there are Polish families, even far away over the ocean, a priest is usually invited by believer in the period of Christmas.
I would like to note the role of a priest, who although does not come in person, he is surely an assistant for a priest, that is, he holds the function in the parish like a vicar. And this is a Catholic newspaper. It had already been said in 1926 by bishop Teodor Kubina in his message to believers after establishing the weekly ‘Niedziela’. The similar role is to be fulfilled by the Catholic newspaper towards the bishop – the newspaper can be somehow an auxiliary bishop. In the pastoral workload, when there are not enough hands, the extra vicar or suffragan has a significant role. Very little has been changed in this respect since the year 1926. And although our times are slightly different, although our families, homes are different, full of technology achievements – there is never too much pastoral information about the universal and the local Church, concerning the social teaching of the Church, as well as suggestions and advice about education, family life, spirituality, and also the culinary sphere. At every moment this vicar can be a guest in our homes – we can ‘invite’ him in the church or in a kiosk, but also at every moment, by turning on the Catholic radio or television stations or surfing Catholic websites.
Many of us may ask the question: Is such a vicar really needed? There is so much trouble with it because it is necessary to leave home, go to church or a kiosk, and, well, it is a kind of expenditure….
Whereas, every edition of ‘Niedziela’ is somehow shouting to us: Dear Catholic, and Dear Priest, who may not still notice me as Your vicar, I would like to tell you that I am whole for you, that I do not want anything else but only Your welfare here, on the Earth, and also the eternal one in Heaven. You must only open me and – read. I know, today reading is not fashionable and if it is, only short texts of lightweight content about eye-catching events are read, but life does not consist of only eye-catching events and it is sometimes necessary to think deeper. Reading is something extremely valuable: it develops intellectuality, allows us enter the intellectual reality, gives us a possibility of deeper analysis of problems. It also sometimes gives us a good insight to look at fact in a different way, which take place in our homeland and about which we read in public media. Indeed, it is worth - if somebody does not still do it – devoting a while for reading at least one wise text in the current edition of ‘Niedziela’. Every edition of the newspaper involves a lot of such texts. Even if we could find 10 or 15 minutes during a week in order to read the weekly, ‘Niedziela’ would not be read in a whole. So, Dear Brother and Dear Sister, try to read ‘Niedziela’ and you will see how much valuable content it has.
As a chief editor of this newspaper, I am also its first reader. Sometimes I look at its texts late at night and I state that they are excellent because they involve much wisdom, life reflections and knowledge which are not in textbooks. They arouse our faith and thanks to them it is easier for us to uncover God and the man and we get to know the Church. I also talk with their authors and I see how they are religiously engaged, how much good they can bring through their reflections. Certainly, ‘Niedziela’ has always been open to reflections of its readers and everybody who would like to share their reflections. It is only necessary to join the rhythm of editorial work and write short and meaningful texts, because it is required by today’s reader. Life is passing very quickly and we have to register current events, therefore, we must understand that texts prepared for printing must give way to very current matters.
Someone said one day that the editorial team of the Catholic newspaper creates somehow a university, in whose work wise people participate, these are often academic professors, experts of various spheres and they do it with love to the man and with responsibility for him. How much truth there is in it.
So, I cordially encourage, especially priests, who sometimes do not appreciate the value of ‘Niedziela’, so that they would not neglect their pastoral-evangelical task, which is also consideration of Catholic media at present times. First of all, those who are dealing with widely-understood evangelization – pastors, catechists, altar boys, organists – should know contents of the current edition of ‘Niedziela’, in order to tell others about them, in order to help people through them. Therefore, we really want this extra vicar in the parish ‘visit parishioners’ for the whole year, so that during an annual visit at Christmas time a priest interested in reading Catholic newspapers in the parish would speak about it. There are so many problems, so much contents opposing Christianity are forcing their way into our homes through secular media and we are passing by them indifferently, we do not say anything about it and we do not know what to say and we keep silent.
Catholic press is complementation of pastoral effort and in some situations and also has a leading role, when public radio and television programmes cannot face everything which is vulgar towards the Gospel and the Church. There is no stupidity in our newspaper, or cynicism and looking for tacky fame. Catholic newspapers are seriously dealing problems we are facing. Therefore, I am asking priests constantly and with great determination: Read ‘Niedziela’ and encourage others to read it. And I am asking catechists to do the same. It is using help of the extra vicar to whom believers can have an access not only at school or in church, but who can also come to their houses regularly every week, and teach what is wise and real. So, let ‘Niedziela’ be a guest at our homes for the whole year!
Once Mr. Jerzy visited me who said: - I took 5 copies of ‘Niedziela’ from my parish priest which were not intended for sale in the parish anymore. I bought them and now I am going to give the Parish Council to given them those who did not have money to buy the newspaper. Yes, I am going to do it every week. I think that in every parish there are people who can buy 5 copies of the weekly and give them to others – on their own, through the Parish Council or the Catholic Action. The parish priest does not have to return this newspaper to the editorial office.
I give the idea of Mr. Jerzy to use. Because it is really sad that parishes return newspapers. And, after all, we must pay for every edited copy, we must keep the newspaper.
Let’s share the good word with others, share our good ideas with others, and the world - at least the one around us – will become more normal and friendly.