I was happy to read the Chancery Notice dated Dec 8, 2014, published in CatholicNews, Dec 28, informing that some priests have been assigned to certain parishes.

The notice specifically stated a term of six years for three parish priests, perhaps indicating that such term is optimal, or is a marker for future appointments. If so, it is indeed a welcome regime of rotating parish priests (and assistants) regularly.

During the initial months, the parish priest can assess the characteristics and needs of his new parish, and be acquainted with the lay groups and volunteers.

Then, he has several years to make needed improvements, and to refresh the faith of his flock by his example, vigour and pastoral care.

He himself will be reinvigorated by a new environment and congregation: priests are not immune to jadedness, a condition common in the secular world.

The faithful would welcome a new parish priest, not because they were “tired” of the previous, but because a new servant-shepherd may offer fresh dynamism and rapport that might have dissipated over the years. Hence, their spiritual life and intimacy with the Church can be reinforced.

What is one parish’s loss could be another parish’s gain, but, over time, the whole Catholic community will benefit from a regular exchange of priestly gifts.

The priestly mission is inherently a sacrifice; priests do face shades of fatigue and dryness. So they need and deserve their breaks, away from the bleating of the flock for a while. But they return, refreshed and recommitted.

Regular rotations will also help.

Andrew Tan

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