We are blessed here at St. Joseph Parish to have an active and vibrant community and people often ask me what I think contributes to the vibrancy of our parish. There is certainly no one singular answer to that question, but one often overlooked answer is the vibrancy of our lay parish staff. In many ways the lay staff of a parish from the Business Manager, to the Director of Christian Formation, to the Facilities Manager is responsible for a thriving and active parish. Although the priest is certainly the public face of the parish, especially though our liturgical responsibilities, it is often through our lay staff that our parishioners encounter our parish in a more personal way. Whether they come in to have a Mass said, or to apply for financial aid, or even when they volunteer to serve in the choir or help with the parish picnic, it is our lay staff they generally encounter first.
Our human limitedness becomes clearly evident when entering active ministry. As priests we do our best to meet the needs of the communities we serve. Whether it is in a dorm, or on campus, or at a parish we work hard to be present to those in our community at all times. However it is impossible for us to do this on our own and we are dependent on talented and dedicated lay staff members to help us to serve God’s people. It is easy to see in the interaction between priests and their lay colleagues the mutual support and enrichment that the two vocations give to each other. In so many ways they are integral to the success of our mission and to the enthusiasm of our apostolates and integral to our work as Holy Cross religious.
Fr. Brian Ching, C.S.C., is associate pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church in South Bend, Ind. He is originally from Flushing, N.Y., and is a graduate of Holy Cross High School. He entered seminary while a student at the University of Notre Dame. He was ordained to the priesthood in 2013.