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The priest as a spiritual father is the compass leading the people to righteousness, to virtuous path to God. He protects the Christian identity in all its complexities by educating our religious sense as Fr Giussani teaches. The faith community is as strong, stable, and capable in mission,, vocation, and charitable activities as the leaders are willing to lead.  A “high ecclesiology,” if you will, shows us that the priest is gateway to the faith and he shows the way to salvation; but a priest can only be a gateway if he has the people who form the walls and is aware that Christ is the foundation. Too often these days the Catholic priest is not a man of prayer, learning, culture, good humor; many priests have lost a sense of heroic virtue.

How does the priest address the needs of the faithful today? Can the priest answer the questions being asked by the faithful and those seeking to know God,or at least willing to do the work needed to answer these questions? What type of witness needed today by the priest viz. the culture, media, and politics, so that we are happy, healthy and loving Christians? What are the concrete ways can we focus on God? How do Christians face nihilism with faith, hope and charity? What does it mean to be a person –and not merely an individual– realizing that the person is a part of a whole who glorifies God?

As you can tell, I am thinking about these things. What I am reading on this subject will make for another post, but I spent time listening to two presentations.

The first is an interview of an Armenian Orthodox bishop, Archbishop Yeghishé Gizirian, who in his retirement serves as the spiritual father of Saint Nersess Seminary, who talks about his vocation, prayer, friendship in “Hope from a joyful heart.” Archbishop Gizirian answers who and what inspires him. He invites us to walk with him in the central themes of his life.

The second presentation was by Deacon Matthew of Saint John’s Armenian Orthodox Church, San Francisco, in The Church and the priest. By now, Deacon Matthew is a priest, but what strikes me as impressive of Matthew, that is, inviting, is Matthew’s credibility and humility. He’s not self-assured, but he is confident in his call coming from Christ and the Mystical Body of the Christ, the Church.