I HAVE DONE FOR YOU"
of my priest friends said to me the other day, "I really
think it's about time for us to let the laity in on what's about
to happen to them." I couldn't agree more.
The Church, as we've
known it in this country, is not going to exist in ten years.
Whether that's for the better or worse, the transition period is
going to be extremely challenging and, in my opinion, a bit
If my personal
experience is any indication, most lay people are either completely
oblivious to how severe the priest shortage is, or they're in some
sort of strange denial that makes them believe their own parish is
immune to the problem.
These monologues here
were written for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. They will
be used at the priests' yearly convocation in June. They are
meant to be a starting point for discussion and reflection.
Therefore, they ask a lot of questions that they don't
answer. But they paint a pretty clear picture of where
things stand and where they're headed.
I was given copies of
similar monologues that were used by the Chicago diocese and told to adapt
them for the west coast. Initially, that meant throw in
some references to the freeway system and take out the stuff about
Chicago. However, when I sat down with the convocation
committee, we realized there was still a lot left to be said, so I
rewrote them. These are about 75% new material. (I don't know who wrote the
Chicago version. It was full of great stuff that I used, and
I'd like to credit the writer. I am working on finding out
who wrote it and I'll post a name here as soon as I get an
The theme of the
convocation this year is the pastoral letter by Cardinal Roger
Mahony that was published on April 20, 2000. The letter is
entitled "As I Have Done for You: A Pastoral Letter on
Ministry". The letter outlines the changes that are
taking place and will continue to take place over the next
With the monologues, I
tried to do the same thing. The challenges ahead of us
are staggering. But, as is usually the case in such matters,
so are the possibilities.
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I would really appreciate any thoughts and comments on the
monologues, especially from priests! Please e-mail
me if you have any qualms or suggestions. Thanks!)