“One priest told me that he worked harder during the lockdown – making phone calls, sending emails, learning new skills with livestream Masses and ZOOM – than he had worked prior to the pandemic.”
Since public Mass resumed in the area at the beginning of this month, the archbishop noted, there has been no known COVID-19 transmission connected to Masses.
“I thank you for your hard work, I thank you for your efforts to follow our protocols. Let’s keep it up until we put the coronavirus pandemic in our rear-view mirrors,” he said.
He also expressed appreciation for lay people’s love of priests. While this year’s Chrism Mass was unable to include lay people due to social distancing requirements, he said, one of the highlights in the past has been the recessional hymn, when people would express their gratitude for priests with a big round of applause.
“That was always a big shot in the arm for all of us,” he said.
(Story continues below)
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“And the people of God do love their priests (and hopefully their bishops – despite what you might read on those blogs). If it was once true that the people placed us on a pedestal as if we were some plaster saints, it is certainly not true now. But they genuinely do love us ‘warts and all.’”
The laity can also offer fraternal correction and administrative advice to priests, Wenski continued. He encouraged priests to humbly listen to their parishioners, who will generally accept a priest’s flaws but will challenge hypocrisy and other scandalous behavior.
“Most understand that we were not trained as MBAs and so they want us to know what we don’t know and to count on their expertise to assist us in our stewardship of their parishes. They will generally forgive most of our faults and foibles, but not arrogance or greed,” he said.