Hard Times: Priests Should Stop Over Taxing Parishioners ~ Fr. Augustine Mario

Says “your primary mission in the parish is for the SALVATION OF SOULS and spiritual growths of your parishioners, not anything else.

Reverend Father Augustine Mario has written to fellow priests on the need for them to curtail financial demands from their parishioners giving the difficult economic times that have brought untold hardship to many.

The priest whose Facebook profile reads “public figure” said the primary function of a priest is the salvation of souls of parishioners and as such should concentrate on building church members spiritual lives. He said embarking on big infrastructural projects as being adopted by so many priests and in the process keep over-taxing and exploiting parishioners financially should be checked especially now that things are hard.

Read the letter in full;

Dear Parish Priests in Nigeria, with due respect and love of Christ and with fraternal concern, I make this appeal to you.

  1. As a Priest, your primary mission in the parish is for the SALVATION OF SOULS and spiritual growths of your parishioners, not anything else.
  2. The Economy of Nigeria is obviously in a worst condition.
    People are undergoing levels of intolerable sufferings as a result of the bad leadership.
    Don’t intensify the hardships by persistently asking them for projects funds.
    There’s absolutely no need for gigantic edifices and regular renovation of the Church buildings at this difficult time.
    It’s waste of resources, God is not complaining that he doesn’t have a nice dwelling place.
    God’s blessings, love, mercy and grace are free for everyone.
    The parishioners should not be hypnotized into believing that the highest money donors in the Church acquire bigger blessings or finds favour before God.
    That’s a theological fraud.
    The people of God shouldn’t be coerced into giving offertory collections.
    It’s an act of concious volition from individuals and not the right of a Priest.
  4. The Holy Mass is the highest form of prayer in the Catholic Church, and it’s a BLESSING.
    Therefore, it’s wrong to categorise certain Holy Masses as “Mass of special blessings”(Uka Bia Nara Ngozi).
    Such practice doesn’t have liturgical basis in the Catholic Church, hence money-oriented.
  5. Dear Priests, you must not acquire new vehicles, big plasma TV, King size beds, expensive iPhones, etc.
    Just procure the simple necessary things you need as a religious.
    A priest is not called to a life of opulence, but a life of simplicity.
  6. As a Parish Priest, you should be APPROACHABLE and AVAILABLE to everyone.
    Oftentimes, some Parish Priests are only available for the wealthy and politicians, while inaccessible for the poor people.
    Give equal opportunity and attention to everyone, especially the needy, because they’re the main apostolate of Christ while he was in the world.
  7. The Catholic Sacraments should be administered to the people of God without requesting for money.
    The Holy Sacraments of Baptism, Holy Communion, Confirmation and Holy Matrimony are completely free of charge in the Catholic Church.
  8. As a Priest of Christ, it’s your moral duty to ensure your deceased parishioner is buried without asking the bereaved family to pay.
    The human soul is more important than the debts.
    Burying the dead is one of our Christian obligations, therefore a Catholic Priest shouldn’t place payments as a prerequisite for Christian burial.
    It’s against our Christian theology.
  9. The Parish Priest is the principal catechist.
    He is the teacher and animator of faith in his Parish, therefore he should ensure he teaches the parishioners the Holy Bible, the Catholic doctrines and Catechism of the Catholic Church.
    This is because most Catholics are just churchgoers who don’t know the Bible, and the teachings of the Magisterium.
  10. Church expenses should be curtailed, the needy and physically challenged people should be given more attention and financial supports in the Church.
  11. During liturgical celebrations, especially the Holy Mass, anything that doesn’t glorify God or align with the present liturgy, should be avoided.
  12. A Parish Priest shouldn’t allow classism in the Parish.
    Everyone, both the rich and the poor are all equal before God.
  13. The Parish Priest should know his parishioners, and develop the habit of visiting them.
    It’s very important.
    His presence in a particular family could be medicinal, it could reinstitute a lost hope, faith and the sense of membership to the one family of Christ.
  14. Never invite politicians to the Sanctuary during the Holy Mass to make political speeches.
    The Holy Sanctuary is for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, not a social podium.
    The Church shouldn’t as well be turned into campaign place.
  15. As Nigeria is about to do the General Election, the Parish Priests should sensitize the parishioners to get their PVCs to vote wisely.
    They should know that only the Mass, Adorations and Rosaries are insufficient to change the maladministration of Nigeria.
    They should be made to understand that most of their daily prayers are just the responsibilities of good government, therefore, they have to cast their votes wisely to elect the competent candidates.

Meanwhile, it is our duty to take care of our priests and also send them gift willingly. May I also register my sense of gratitude to all the priests for their good works and their dedication to the service of God and humanity.
God bless and replenish you all.- Augustine Mario


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