Fr. Dominic Anaeto
Fr. Dominic Anaeto is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Nnewi, Nigeria. He holds a license in spirituality from Gregorian University in Rome, a doctorate in pastoral theology from the Lateran University, also in Rome, and a diploma from the Christian Institute for the Study of Human Sexuality at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Illinois. He is a certified counselor on topics related to human development and human sexuality. He functions as a director of spiritual life which involves giving spiritual conferences, moderating retreats, seminars, and days of recollection. He offers pastoral counseling and spiritual direction to individuals and groups. Presently, he is a professor at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut.
Note from Dr. Chervin: I asked Fr. Dominic to write this chapter because I admire him as a priest who exemplifies the qualities he describes here. For better or worse, lay Catholics in academe and especially at seminaries, spend quite a bit of time thinking about the characters of priests in the past and what we would like priests to be like in the future. Fr. Dominic has spent years in the formation of priests in Nigeria and in the United States. I find in his insights just the synthesis I have been seeking of leadership and warmth of ministry.
The pastor is a mediator between God and his people. He is the middle ground between humanity and divinity. On the one hand, he communicates the essence of divinity to humanity and on the other hand, he brings humanity and its problems to divinity. Simply put, being the good shepherd who acts in persona Christi, he ought to be well equipped in the image of Christ so as to live up to the demands of this mediatorship.
Christ, as the self-revelation of God become incarnated within the human culture, understands the human condition. He felt the pains, sufferings, difficulties, joys and the hilarious moments of the human person. Christ equally manifested human emotions himself (Cf. Jn. 11:35) and hence the confidence expressed in his priesthood in Heb. 4:15, “for we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.”
No wonder then, the Church professes the full humanity of Jesus Christ without fear of equivocation. From the standpoint of his humanity, he was and is able to understand the yearning of the human spirit, and, from the standpoint of his divinity, he is ever able to satiate these deepest yearnings. The pastor, who represents Christ in his ministry of sanctification, governance, and teaching should also manifest to an excellent degree this complementary polarity of being. In as much as he is not of the world and thus ought to have a profound connection with the divine, he should also realize that he is in the world and that the joy and hope, grief, and anguish of the man of the world should genuinely find an echo in his heart (GS no.1).
It is therefore, against this background, that this paper examines the necessity and inevitability of affectivity in pastoral ministry for our Catholic life in the twenty-first century which Pope Francis has stressed right from the beginning of his pontificate. In the recent address to the Pontifical Representatives and Apostolic Nuncios on June 21, 2013, he states, “Pastors must know how to be ahead of the herd to point the way, in the midst of the flock to keep it united, behind the flock to prevent someone being left behind, so that the same flock, so to speak, has the sense of smell to find its way.”
The mission of a pastor expresses in synthesized form the varying aspects of the prophetic, regal and priestly ministry without bypassing anyone of these roles., Each corresponds to the three main functions of Christ: Priest, Prophet and King. These functions are not to be understood as separate activities of Jesus during his life, as if, for example, the priestly function corresponds only to his three hours as priest and victim on the cross. They are rather dimensions that penetrate all his life and ministry. They correspond to the functions of preaching, of cult, and of government. The ministry of a pastor should be understood as an integral process in his ministry.
The shepherd image gives a sense of unity to the life and ministry of the ministerial priesthood. It allows no dichotomy between the two. The priest does not become holy in spite of his ministry, but rather through his ministry. It is through the Eucharistic cult or in the Eucharistic assembly of the faithful that the pastor exercises in a supreme degree his sacred function. The Eucharist is the principal and central raison d’etre of the sacrament of the priesthood. The priest carries out his principal mission and expresses himself in all his fullness in celebrating the Eucharist. It is only through the Eucharist that the pastor can be truly so to the people of God and also a relevant spiritual leader of his community.
Pastoral charity removes from the ministerial priesthood the note of power in the sense of authoritarianism.. The priest’s authority must be understood in evangelical terms as service, as full dedication, as commitment, which are all the result of love for Christ extended to the flock. The exercise of this authority must therefore be measured against the model of Christ, who by love made himself the least and the servant of all. Within the context of the struggle for authority and leadership, Christ made it clear to his apostles that “the greatest among you must be your servant” (Mk. 10:42). Christ himself realized this ideal in his person when he washed the feet of the apostles demonstrating leadership by service (John 10:1-14). This ideal of leadership continued in the early years of the Church until the Church came in contact with the state and established a relationship. As a result this relationship, bishops and priests became royal figures and received royal privileges. Hence, in the Tridentine Church, the priests are seen at the center of attention and the whole Church was at the service of the clergy.
However, Vatican II revised this status quo with its emphasis on servant leadership which can be aptly expressed in Christ’s mission mandate “not to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:28). Thus, in many of the conciliar documents of Vatican II, this emphasis on service, which also is correlated with the idea of communion, is seen all over as stressing the importance of the servant leadership in pastoral ministry today (Cf. PO 6 and 9).
The pastor must make sure that all of these pastoral roles flow from love and are motivated by love. This is after the example of St. Peter who received the mandate to feed the flock of Christ after his confession of his love. Hence, the pastor must be self-effacing and not demand anything in return for his ministry. In fact, pastors should not be afraid to lay down their lives for their sheep and, being a model to their flock (Cf. I Pet 5,3), they must foster a growing holiness in the Church by their love.
Wherever this love flourishes, class distinction disappears and the pastor will no longer be afraid that his weaknesses may be discovered. Such a fear can make the pastor feel lonely even while in a community of the people of God. It is only love that conquers such loneliness.
The pastor, while carrying out his ministry must be involved in the affairs of his people. As someone taken from among them who has also tread the paths they are treading, he is in a better position to understand their plight; in other words, he must be sensitive to what they are going through ( Heb 5:1-3). He should try to provide solutions to the problems of the people of God, after the manner of Christ,whether the problem is spiritual, physical, or psychological.
The Code of Canon Law presents a powerful description of the activities of a parish priest thus:
So that he may fulfill his office of pastor diligently, the parish priest is to strive to know the faithful entrusted to him. He is therefore to visit their families, sharing in their cares and anxieties and, in a special way, their sorrows, comforting them in the Lord. If in certain matters, they are found wanting, he is prudently to correct them. He is to help the sick and especially the dying in great charity, solicitously restoring them with the sacraments and commending their souls to God. He is to be especially diligent in seeking out the poor, the suffering, the lonely, those who are exiled from their homeland, and those burdened with special difficulties.
He must act not so much as the stern judge but rather as the merciful Samaritan. Pouring oil and wine into bleeding wounds, practicing charity, kindness, and pity, consoling and blessing the people of God all fall under his sacrificial duties. The pastor, of course, carries these innumerable duties with significant challenges, yet there are also consolations when a pure and holy life, a life dedicated to God in virtue, blossoms under his guiding hand. Such an experience more than compensates the priest for the bitter trials that are prepared for him in other quarters.
The Council Fathers made it clear that the faithful themselves have obligations towards their pastors by stating that, “They should treat them with filial love as being their fathers and pastors. They should also share their priests’ anxieties and help them as far as possible by prayer and active work.” The Council advises priests to recognize, promote, and foster the cooperation of the laity in the apostolate and in the same pastoral ministry within the Christian community, not hesitating to “give lay people charge of duties in the service of the Church” and to “give them freedom and opportunity for activity and even inviting them when opportunity occurs, to take initiative in undertaking projects on their own.” This is consistent with respect for the dignity and freedom of the children of God, but also with Gospel service.
One of the dangers noticeable today is the so-called democratism which practically negates the true doctrine of the distinction between the common and ministerial priesthood. The so-called democratism is a great temptation because it leads to a denial of the authority and capital grace of Christ and distorts the nature of the Church. Such a view damages the very hierarchical structure willed by its Divine Founder. Therefore, the mentality which confuses the duties of the priests with those of the lay faithful cannot be permitted in the Church. No one may licitly change what Christ has wanted for his Church. It is indissolubly linked with its Founder and Head who alone may provide her, through the power of the Holy Spirit, with ministers in the service of the faithful. There must be a cross-fertilization of ideas between the pastor and the people of God. The pastor must see to it that the “ministerial priesthood is at the service of the common priesthood.” The tendency to individualism must be eschewed. The pastor should try to foster the positive qualities of Christian family life both in the parish house and in the parish community.
It is not enough for the pastor to live in a community; he must minister in that community. To be able to minister, the pastor must drop his defenses. Sometimes these defenses are natural and they help us to manage crises but also they can be used negatively to distort reality and shy away from truth. The more the pastor keeps his defenses, the more he separates himself from his inner being, others, and God. Hence, he distances himself from Jesus Christ who is the source and model of the ministerial priesthood. J. O’Donnell and S. Rendina, in their book about the priesthood and spirituality, put it so clearly that
the ministerial priesthood has no sense if it is not lived out as a personal expression of the love which the priest bears for Christ. The spirituality of the priest consists in the fact that his love for Christ leads him to a love for Christ’s people.… For the ordained priest, the love of Christ becomes sacramental and incarnate in the love of Christ’s people. The two become for him a seamless garment in which prayer and ministry are woven into a unified pattern, for it is the same face of Christ which is revealed in both.
The pastor should not look at the people of God in his community as do psychologists view their clients who have problems to be solved. He should rather be with the people of God as a vulnerable brother who loves and is loved, cares and is cared for. When this basic attitude is lacking, shepherding can turn into a mere exercise of power with an authoritarian tone. This contradicts the ideal of a vulnerable brother and leader who is needed by the people of God and also needs the people of God. Thus, there is an essential unity between the shepherd and the flock. It is only when the pastor surrenders himself to God that he can be free to serve others without using them for his own self-interest. The pastor, in fact, is a master and leader, but he is also a disciple; he is one who renders holy, but he himself should be rendered holy. He is a shepherd, but, like all the other faithful, he is part of the flock. Letting God be God is the only basis for a well-ordered love of ourselves and our neighbor in fulfillment of the Great Commandment.
It is almost a sine qua non for pastors to cultivate warm, healthy friendship and good adult relationships with fellow priests, laymen, and women. These relationships should not be exclusive or secretive. He should respect boundaries in these personal and or professional relationships. He should be at home, at peace, and comfortable with his celibacy, even as he experiences the sacrifice and the difficulties that such entails. He must meet and minister in an appropriate place or setting, and at appropriate times. While the human experience of intimacy is important, and can serve as a pathway to God, this does not involve touching or gestures that properly belong to courtship, engagement, and marriage. Pastors are frequently required by daily pastoral and spiritual life to renounce their own convenience and constantly to seek not their own advantage but what benefits the salvation of the members of the community.
An efficient and effective pastor must develop skills for attentive listening to the people of God in their problems. He should not only listen with the ears but be wholly attentive to the feelings. He must develop skills of acceptance, non-judgment, patience, and faithfulness which involves confidentiality in information shared with him by any member of Christ’s faithful. In fact, the entire life of the pastor should speak louder than whatever skill or techniques he uses in teaching; for one who is so regarded that the people are called his flock, must carefully consider how necessary it is for him to maintain a life of rectitude. Gregory the Great emphatically states that,
The ruler should be exemplary in his conduct, that by his manner of life he may show the way of life to his subjects, and that the flock, following the teaching and conduct of its shepherd, may proceed the better through example rather than words. For one who by the exigency of his position must propose the highest ideals, is bound by that same exigency to give a demonstration of those ideals. His voice penetrates the hearts of his hearers the more readily, if his way of life commends what he says. What he enjoins in words, he will help to execution by example.
The biblical anecdote of Jn. 15:1-17 make it clear that Jesus is the true vine and that the only sufficient condition for bearing good fruit is to remain ever attached to Jesus as the branches are to the vine. Christ remains always the principle and source of the unity of the life of the pastors and their ministries. Therefore, pastors will achieve the unity of their life by joining themselves with Christ in the recognition of the Father’s will and in the gift of themselves to the flock entrusted to them (cf. I John 3:16). Blessed John Paul II of blessed memory made it clear that it is “only in loving and serving Christ the Head and Spouse will charity become a source, criterion, measure and impetus for the priest’s love and service to the Church, the Body and Spouse of Christ.” The identity of the priest is rooted in his particular relationship with Christ. His election and consecration, by the power of ordination, configures him to Christ. He is a sacramental representation of Christ a living instrument of Christ the eternal priest., In his ministry, the priest does not act in his own name; he acts in persona Christi representing Christ who acts through him with the power of the Holy Spirit. But if he acts in person Christi, he also acts in persona ecclesia because they represent the People of God, the Church, to which they are united in Spirit.
Therefore, for the pastor to develop meaningful affectivity in his ministry without faltering, he must cultivate a deep sense of inter-personal relationship with Christ, the Master, without which a high sense of meaninglessness would pervade the pastoral ministry. Without this deep-rootedness in Christ, the pastor can fall into the extremes of sympathy (being totally emotionally captured by the problems of the people to the point of irrationality) or apathy (being totally severed from the people to the point of tyranny).
To guard against these risks, the pastor needs to first develop affectivity in his relationship with the Master.
Today we speak of affective balance and maturity as the core element of all human maturity. When we are seeking to test a candidate for the priesthood or religious life, we go to this core element of maturity that we call affective balance and maturity. With mere intellectualism, it is impossible to have affective balance. We recall the beautiful expression of Blaise Pascal which is profoundly insightful: “Man is neither an angel nor a beast. If he plays the angel, he will end up eventually playing the beast.” If one finds it difficult to accept his human affectivity, which is the core of his human person, obviously, he will have trouble in life. The heart cannot be starved of affectivity without seeking for revenge.
The taste for God in prayer is necessary for the balance in a Christian life. More so for the balance of a consecrated Christian life, it is necessary because by God’s own gift of celibacy, we dedicate to God the deepest natural development of this side of our being. But not because we have dedicated this are we to be starved of affectivity. As consecrated persons, our hearts must be fed on God and in God in all that we do for the sake of God.
There is a great fundamental danger and risk in the life of consecrated persons, priests, and religious who have not trusted the way to their affectivity to and to their brothers and sisters in God. Example are so numerous of people who have great human capacity and tremendous intellectual qualities but who are so caught up in the world of their human capacities and intellectual qualities that they are never fully integrated personalities. They can be intellectual giants but spiritual infants because they have not fed their affectivity. In fact, the more one has human and intellectual capacities, the more need there is to feed the affective dimension.
However, we need to understand equally strongly the crucial need for the education and purification of affectivity. We do not speak of letting affectivity run loose. It is also in this process of the education of affectivity that we see the objective harm that the classical background training and pedagogy has done. Generally, we are in the habit of running away from affectivity as a coping strategy. This is because we are afraid, anxious, and guilty about the expression of affectivity. It is really unbelievable how we tend to handle the whole world of the heart with tragic results. The first stage in the process of the education of affectivity is to become conscious of the experience of affectivity, then, through it to be free for God and, in God, for other brothers and sisters. It is not anything to be guilty of or that we must consistently seek out ways of suppressing.
Since pastors, while exercising their pastoral ministry, should give much to others, they should as well replenish themselves with wisdom and grace. They should be on their guard so that no one who approaches them should be disappointed but may find in them light for their intelligence, warmth for their own heart, support for their own journey.
This strength needed for effective pastoral ministry cannot be acquired without priests putting on the heart of Jesus, a heart that loves and loves to the end. Therefore, constant communion with Jesus in prayer is the only channel through which this “putting on of heart” can be realized. Of course, his ministry is not without difficulties but his consolation should be that he has done the work assigned to him without losing any of the flock entrusted to his care.
We conclude with a strengthening admonishment which St Paul used while addressing the “elders” of the Church in Miletus. “Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock the Holy Spirit has given you to guard. Shepherd the Church of God which he has acquired at the price of his blood” (Acts 20:32).
1. Discuss in detail the pastoral implications of collaborative ministry.
2. Pastoral charity expresses in an eloquent manner that the Shepherd image means for the ministerial priesthood. Discuss.
3. Discuss the necessity and inevitability of affectivity in pastoral ministry for Catholic life in the twenty-first century
4. The Pastor is supposed to be "for" his people and "with" his people. Can there be any tension in those roles? If there is, how can it be resolved?
RESPONSES TO FATHER DOMINIC’S CHAPTER ON PRIESTLY MINISTRY IN COMMUNITY:
Written by Sean Hurt, Dr. Chervin’s grandson-in-law, who wrote this while a catechumen entering an RCIA program. (Fr. Dominic’s words are italicized with Sean’s comments in regular print.)
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.”
I want to add another verse from scripture onto this, just to highlight how deep this communion is between God and mankind. I’m referring to some of the last words Jesus spoke before giving up his spirit on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” I can’t tell you how perplexing this verse was to me. At first it seems like Jesus was acknowledging his helplessness on the Cross. The Catechism explains that, in this final outcry, Jesus assumes our position as sinners. So, Jesus, while not sinning himself, stands in solidarity with us, even as sinners.
The pastor, who represents Christ in his ministry of sanctification, governance, and teaching should also manifest to an excellent degree this complementary polarity of being.
… This is important for peace. As I said, I came from a family hostile to religion. Growing up, I got through most of my life without ever knowing a religious person. I just kept in this clique of atheists. I can’t tell you the extent to which Ronda, and a Christian friend, influenced my direction in turning to Christ. Because before I met them, I just thought, “Oh, all Christians are stupid or crazy.” It’s so easy for an atheist to hate Christians and hate God if they don’t have a Christian friend whom they respect.
Wherever this love flourishes, class distinction disappears and the pastor will no longer be afraid that his weaknesses may be discovered. Such a fear can make the pastor feel lonely even while in a community of the people of God. It is only love that conquers such loneliness.
The author brings up a bunch of interesting topics here—love, solidarity, fear, loneliness, and weakness. I’d like to elaborate more on these from my own experience. I know the fear that causes loneliness. It’s a fear that people will discover my weaknesses and they will lose all respect for me; that fear leads to self-alienation. This is the loneliness Father Dominic is talking about. Other people call this building-walls or pushing-others-away. You can still make relationships but they’re built on respect for authority; the author calls for a relationship built on love.
When we love each other, we see each other fully. “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” Our fear is what impedes us from loving. However, we can abandon our fear (through Christ) and trust that we are loveable and in turn, we can love others in spite of their weakness. There is another level where we love their weakness, and our own weakness, too. Indeed, weakness is part of God’s plan who distributes the talents unevenly so that people will need each other. So, this love is a basis for human solidarity.
One of the dangers noticeable today is the so-called democratism which practically negates the true doctrine of the distinction between the common and ministerial priesthood.
I agree with the author’s point here, but I don’t entirely agree with the way he deals with the subject. Whenever we talk about “dangers” to the Church, I wish we could begin with an empathetic attempt to understand the underlying motivation of those who promulgate them. I understand the impulse to democratize the church; I don’t agree with it, but I understand. I think a lot people here in America, in this generation, have a strong distrust of authority. Think of the word” authority.” It can make your hair stand-up. In my mind I associate it with police states, crooked bosses, Stalin, Hitler, etc. There are all sorts of reasons for this distrust of authority: the on-going ideological war between democracy and totalitarianism, changes in parenting styles, unloving parents, etc.
So, I’m just saying that it’s important to recognize dangers to the faith, like democratism, but let’s respond to it empathetically, seeing the great wounds, fear, and despair in the people that advocate for it.
The pastor should not look at the people of God in his community as psychologists view their clients who have problems to be solved. He should rather be with the people of God as a vulnerable brother who loves and is loved, cares and is cared for. When this basic attitude is lacking, shepherding can turn into mere exercise of power with authoritarian tone
I think what the author is talking about here is very important. Here the author portrays the authority, the pastor, in such a radically different light—as the “vulnerable brother.” Authority brings to mind many different (usually awful) things; one thing it doesn’t connote is vulnerability. In this age, the hardest part of the Creed to state is, “I believe in the Holy Catholic Church.” We hate authority, because we don’t trust it. We don’t think of authority as loving guidance, but as cruel exploitation. I love what this author is saying. The pastor reveals himself to us, not only as the Vicar of Christ but as a fully flawed human, who needs us as much as we need him.
Now, what the author is saying is nothing new; it’s already expressed so perfectly in symbols and language we use to talk about priesthood. The pastor is the shepherd, our “father.” The filial and pastoral symbolism is perfect, but maybe the symbol is so trite to us now that doesn’t make an impact.
The pastor must realize and accept his need for intimacy and love in leadership.
Again, this language is so shocking. How often do we encounter the words “love and intimacy” associated with the word “leadership”? This is because our normal, American interactions with leadership occur in our places of employment. The workplace culture fosters “professional relationships” and “emotional detachment.” The motivation of that leadership is ruthless material self-interest. So, that’s our normal, everyday experience with leadership and hierarchy. American workplace culture contributes to our distrust of authority as self-interested and exploitative. So, you can see that the pastoral paradigm of leadership is just totally foreign to us.
Response from student-seminarian David Tate:
1. Collaborative Ministry in its simplest form is something very easy. When taking into consideration the aspects of the human male ego, it suddenly gets very complicated. I see in the structure of collaborative ministry the combining of two leverage points that can bring easy success to ministry if combined in the right manner. There needs to be a well- trained priest. He must be able to have access to a great number of solutions for various critical situations. The delicacy here is found in how he brings those solutions into the life problems of the congregation.
The second leverage point is the work of the Holy Spirit – divine grace. The life of a parish is very different from the military, the government, or a corporate atmosphere. Collaborative is basically meaning to co-labor; to labor together. The secular world is used to people giving orders. It is interesting in the religious world, where you imagine respectful deference being given in abundance, with people that follow obediently a set of rules, like perfectly behaved sheep, order giving is the last welcome component of a local parish. For the local priest, tact is by far the most important tool in his clerical bag.
To summarize, the goal of a priest in his “co-laboring” means that he is truthful, instructive, and cajoling all at the same time, using a priestly tone that is always tenderly inclusive and encouraging. For the priest, he has a tough job ahead of himself because he is, “He is the middle ground between humanity and divinity.”
In a parish family, the average person acts more analogously to a teenager, than to a child. One wrong slip of the priest brings anger and rebellion, severely jeopardizing future open cooperation. For this reason, from the first day at a new parish, the priest needs to work everyday building a strong bond of trust between himself and the congregation. The greater the bond of trust is in the future, then the greater the cushion of forgiveness will be when a priest does directly or indirectly act offensively. On a positive note, it is true that the mark of a very successful collaborative ministry is, in fact, the level of trust that a priest has gained with his parish. The dangerous part in earning trust comes when the “teenager” meets the challenges of adult spiritual life. Just like it is easy to spoil the children that we love, so also if a priest does not prepare parishioners to embrace humility, hard work, and true love of God and others, then the presumed trust bears bitter fruit for it can become only self-serving. At such times ll the work of the priest will burn up as so much hay and stubble, without any eternal remnant.
2. In our previous discussion above, the various levels of maturity were mentioned. So also with the expression of pastoral charity, it is mandatory that priests are aware of the different abilities that exist in parishioners to love. Some Church Fathers spoke of our ways of responding to love that has been extended to us. The greatest difficulty in expressing charity (that is, God’s charity) is that we are not God. AsPersona Christi we can only depend on the grace given to us, as we are not naturally disposed to divine charity. By His daily grace though, the priest can grow in “being the good shepherd who acts in persona Christi.” The hope of every priest is that pastoral charity permeates our person as a priest, teacher, and brother to our parishioners. The authority that is characteristic to the priest should also be well lubricated with divine charity. Through all these scenarios, divine charity would never cause oppression or insecurity in a person…
3. As was stated, the effective leader is like the perfect shepherd who can express his presence among the sheep by going ahead of the sheep, and being a leader to follow; by walking with the sheep to keep them comforted; and by going at the rear, and keeping an eye out for ones that could wander off and become separated. This understanding has never been out of fashion. Why is this statement true? It is true because God has never changed, and the presence of sin has never changed. The cure for mankind’s sin is Christ. The job of the priest is to express Christ. The affective love of Christ is a constant. The affect of the Persona Christi is a constant.
The last thing the priest wants to do is get involved in some gimmick that is touted to decrease spiritual fat without any change in diet or exercise! Instead, the priest realizes that hard work, prayer, and obedience will “develops his own affectivity, then he can be more empathetic [more charitable].” The Sacraments and pastoral charity are his first tools. It was, is, and always will be the function of the priest to be Persona Christi for his sheep.
Response of student Kathleen Brouillette, parish DRE:
The most outstanding part of this chapter, for me, is Father Dominic’s statement, “The priesthood was born in the upper Room together with the Eucharist.” As many times as I have taught my students that the Last Supper was the First Communion, and also the institution of the priesthood, the exact way Father phrased his statement had me in tears as I read it. God is so unbelievably good. The significance of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, as well as in the priest who acts in Persona Christi, is strikingly brought home to me in Father’s statement. How intertwined these two truths, these two sacraments!
If we understand and appreciate the truth and significance of the Eucharist and the Mystical Body of Christ, we must have profound reverence for the priests, who act in Persona Christi, and without whom there can be no sacraments. We must give to them the love and support we look to receive from them. But how do we get to that point?
As vital as it is that we are taught and understand our faith, we also need to understand the fall of the father figure after World Wars I and II and the Great Depression. In Dr. Arden’s course on the Psychology of the 1950s (Dr. Angelyn Arden teaches psychology and other courses in the humanities at Holy Apostles) we explored this topic, which was particularly eye-opening. Men came home wounded emotionally as well as physically, and women came more and more to the fore as strong figures in the family as well as society. Fathers either lost their proper place as head of the home, or over-compensated by denying their vulnerability and being particularly patriarchal in the negative and non-holy sense of the word. Children and teens rebelled against their parents’ conventionalism. That rebellion of youth against authority spilled over into faith and the Church.
Pope Pius XII addressed the significance of the father figure in the midst of a decline into materialism in his 29 October 1951 address, Moral Questions Affecting Married Life, comparing it to the significance of God the Father Himself: “At the birth of the child, hasten…to place it in the arms of the father…it is an act of homage to and recognition of the Creator, an invoking of the Divine blessing, the duty of carrying out the office given by God with devotion and affection…what praise, what reward will He reserve for the father who has cherished and reared for Him the human life entrusted to him, a life worth more than all the gold and silver in the world!”
Indeed this quote can be applied as well to our spiritual fathers in the priesthood. If we can only understand and appreciate the unique role of the priest as the bridge between Christ and us! We are placed in their care from our new birth in Christ. They are placed in authority over us for our good. If they carry out their office, God will give them great reward, worth more than anything in this world. We need to help form one another, in a sense. The priesthood can be a very lonely life. As fathers in the 50s needed family support and healing, we must help heal each other’s wounds in the Body of Christ, share our struggles and lift each other up, share our humanity and strive to live in the dignity of having been made in the image and likeness of God. We must, as St. Paul says in Eph 5:21, “serve one another out of reverence for Christ.” That’s a choice we can all make.
 The prophet of old already enumerated the duties of one whom the Holy Spirit has chosen and sent for the salvation of the people: he is to announce the joyful news of the Truth, he is to console those whose hearts are broken with sorrow, he is to bind the wounds of the afflicted, to preach the mercy of the Lord (Is 61: 1-3). Pastors in fact, should be a rock of truth and at the same time should have a heart full of tenderness, so that every brother can hold on to him for support as he travels the path of life.
 “L’immagine del pastore riesce ad esprimere bene in sintesi I vari aspetti del ministero, profetico, regale, sercerdotale, senz trascurarne nessuno, P. Laghi , “Le principali chiavi di lettura” in Vi daro pastori second il mio cuore: Esortazione Apostolica “Pastores dabo vobis” di S.S. Giovanni Paolo II circa la formazione dei sacerdoti nelle circostanze attuali, (25 Marzo 1992). Testo e commenti, Prefazione di S.E. il Card. Angelo Sodano, Quaderni del L’Osservatore Romano 20, Citta del Vaticano 1992, 193-201. (This article was amplified in: “Pastores dabo Vobis” Presentazione”, Seminarium 32(1992) 505-517.)
 Cf. J. GALOT, Teologia del Sacerdozio, Nuovo Collana di Teologia Cattholica 14, Firenze 1981, 142.
 Cf. J. GALOT, Teologia del Sacerdozio, 142. Christ remains always the Great Shepherd of the flock; he associates to himself some chosen ones who remain completely dependent on him. The minister remains always a member of the flock, underlining the fact that he is to continue to follow Jesus, the Good Shepherd. A very close relationship is created between the shepherd and the sheep, so that one does not exist without the other.
 LG 28.
 JOHN PAUL II, “Address to Priest Jubilarians” in Rome, 22 April 1982, L’Osservatore Romano, ed. English, 10 May 1982, p.16.
 Cf. L’Osservatore Romano, ed. English, 17 May 1982, p. 2.
 St Augustine, struck by the duties of the pastor who guides the people on the way of salvation, said once to his faithful: “It may be that many normal Christians follow a more easy way leading to God, making a more rapid progress as the weight of responsibility on their shoulders is light. But we must render account to God first of all of our lives as Christians and then in particular of the service we have performed as pastors” (Cf. Serm. 46: 1-2).
 Cf. L’Osservatore Romano, ed. English, 5 April 2000, p. 4.
 Pastoral charity removes the danger of activism and functionalism (Cf. CONGREGAZIONE PER IL CLERO, Direttorio, n. 44. This same pastoral charity is the dynamic inner principle capable of unifying the many different activities of the priest. In virtue of this pastoral charity the essential and permanent demand for unity between the priest’s interior life and all his exterior actions and the obligations of the ministry can be properly fulfilled, a demand particularly urgent in a socio-cultural and ecclesial context strongly marked by complexity, fragmentation, and dispersion. Only by directing every moment and every one of his acts towards the fundamental choice to give his life for the flock can the priest guarantee this unity which is vital and indispensable for his harmony and spiritual balance. ( Pd V 23)
 CCC. No. 1551. The sanctification of the people of God, entrusted to the pastor, which is essentially pastoral must be lived with humility and coherence. It can also be subject to two opposite temptations: The first is that of exercising his ministry in an overbearing manner (Lk 22: 24-27, 1 Pt 5: 1-4) while the second is that of disdaining the configuration to Christ Head and Shepherd because of an incorrect view of community. The first temptation was also strong for the disciples themselves and was promptly and repeatedly corrected by Jesus; all authority is exercised in the spirit of service, as Amoris Officium ( Cf. St Augustine, In Johannis Evangelium Tractatus, 123, 5, CCL 36,678 and as unselfish dedication for the good of the flock (Jn 13: 14; 10: 11).
 CIC, c. 529 & 1
 PO 9
 PO 9
 CCC. no. 1547.
 Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Nigeria, I Chose You, The Nigerian Priests in the Third Millennium, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, 2004, p. 20.
 On the negative side, priests should strive not to be arrogant, rude, selfish, opinionated, ill-mannered, ill-tempered, abusive, lazy, disrespectful, or partial in their judgments and decisions. Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Nigeria, I Chose You, The Nigerian Priests in the Third Millennium, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, 2004, p. 22.
 “Il sacerdozio ministeriale non ha senso se non e vissuto come espressione personale dell’amore del sacerdote per Cristo. La spiritualita del prete consiste nel fatto che is suo amore per Cristo lo conduce ad un amore per il popolo di Cristo…. Per il sacerdote l’amore di Cristo diventa incarnate e sacramentale nell’amore per il popolo di Cristo. Questi due amori formano un’unita inscindibile in cui la preghiera e il ministero sono integrati in modo taleche lo stesso volto di Cristo viene rispecchiato in ambedue” ( J. O’Donnell, S. Rendina, Sacerdozio, e Spiritualita Ignaziana, Roma 1993, 49-50.
 Trape A., Il Sacerdote: uomo di Dio al servizio della Chiesa, Considerazioni patristiche, Collana Studi Agostiniani I, Roma 1988, p. 192-193.
 J. Navone, The Dynamic of The Question in Narrative Theology, Editrice Pontificia Universita Gregoriana, Roma 1986, p. 57.
 Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Nigeria, I Chose You, The Nigerian Priests in the Third Millennium, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, 2004, p. 25.
 Cf. PO 13
 St. Gregory the Great, Regular Pastoralis II, I.
 PO 14
 Frisque, J., -Congar Y. (ed.), Les Prệtres, Dềcrets “Presbyterorum Ordinis” et “Optatam Totius”: Textes Latins et Traductions Francaises, Paris 1968, p. 169.
 John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Pastores dabo vobis (25 March 1992) (AAS 84 (1992) 23.
 PO 2, PDV 21.
 PDV 15
 PO 12
 “The priesthood of presbyters, while presupposing the sacraments of initiation, is nevertheless conferred by its own particular sacrament. Through that sacrament presbyters, by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are signed with a special character and so are configured to Christ the Priest in such a way that they are special character and so are configured to Christ the Priest in such a way that they are able to act in the person of Christ the Head” (PO 2; CCC, 1563. The Second Vatican Council speaks of presbyters as ministers who do not have “the supreme degree of the priesthood” and who in exercising their power depend on bishops. On the other hand, they are associated with them “by reason of their priestly dignity” (LG 28; CCC 1564) Presbyters too bear “the image of Christ, the supreme and eternal Priest” (LG 28) Therefore, they participate in Christ’s pastoral authority: this is the characteristic note of their ministry, based on the Sacrament of Holy Orders conferred on them. In the New Testament books, it is not always easy to distinguish between “presbyters” and “bishops” regarding the duties assigned to them. In this chapter, too, I will follow the same principle of the New Testament of referring to the duties of the bishops and priests as pastoral ministries—duties of a pastor.
 Okeke, Cornelius Uche, On Being a Fulfilled Catholic Priest, Understanding the Experience of Meaning and meaninglessness in the Priesthood, Rex Charles and Patrick limited, Nimo, 2008, p. 31-32.
 John of the Cross in his Ascent to Mount Carmel, all the stages that he puts there, including the stages of the dark night, of the senses, and of the Spirit, are expressions of an going education and purification of affectivity. The same with Teresa of Avila in her Interior Castle, the soul’s progression through the mansion is nothing but stages of on-going education and purification of affectivity. The exercises of St. Ignatius are all about the education and purification of affectivity at a very deep level.