Two points are fundamental regarding the benefits of working together in the ministry. First, while the bishop or superior appointed us to where we work, it was Jesus who actually sent us; and he wants us to work together. Second, everyone has admirers and supporters. This is a fact of life that we cannot change.
Whenever at least two people work in a parish or school, the laity is curious about the relationship between them. Sometimes, they would come with questions or comments about the personality of our confrere or about a decision or action he or she has taken. Our responses to such situations matter a lot, and these depend on how we live and interact in the rectory or convent.
If there is relative peace, mutual interaction, and collaboration in the rectory or convent, we answer cautiously. If these are below average or do not exist, we answer carefreely, without thinking of the consequences of our answers. Some even answer sarcastically. For instance, if priest A does not discuss pastoral activities or decisions with priest B, priest B would not know about them. If the laity grumbles about it, priest B cannot adequately respond. If there was no peace at home, priest B might even make comments to undermine the decision of priest A.
Indeed, we need a common front to evangelise effectively. Working together is not about living in the same house. It is about mutual interaction and collaboration. Discussions are better done at meals or at other moments. If we do not do any of these, then we create room for underperformance. Yes, forging a common front does not mean that all the priests or religious agree to a decision (it is impossible for all to always agree on a strategy); rather, it means that everyone knows what is going on.
Therefore, the benefit of working together is that the laity will not find division. They so much love when priests are united in spirit and speak with one voice. Yes, some may be unhappy that we support or defend each other. The response is simple: “We are a team”.
Working together promotes mutual respect for the spiritual gifts of our confrere. This mutual respect entails discussing how to utilise these gifts for the common good of the parish or school. These discussions enable the full manifestation of these gifts and reduce envy because, rather than see a gift of the other as a threat, we see it as an arm extension.
Working together enables us to evangelise effectively by properly coordinating our pastoral activities, pushing through pastoral innovations, and generating more income.
May God continue to help us.🙏🏾
Image credit: Imp Centre