Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
Ever heard of a bishop’s munera? Well, that’s plural for munus; and munus is Latin for “function or duty”. So we say, “A bishop has a three-fold munera: that of prophet, priest and king.” The bishop has duties like those of a prophet, like those of a priest, and like those of a king. Because Jesus is called in Scripture “prophet, priest and king”, and the bishop stands most fully “in the person of Christ” in a diocese, we identify the bishop’s duties under the categories of prophet, priest and king.
A prophet primarily teaches/speaks God’s word. A priest sanctifies the people, especially by means of the sacraments. A king governs, organizing the society he serves, and the temporal goods that are part of that society of persons. The bishop’s three-fold munera?: to teach, sanctify and govern. A priest – assisting the bishop as he does by leading a specific parish – shares in the three-fold munera of the bishop; i.e., a priest also acts as prophet, priest and king by teaching, sanctifying and governing.
Bishop Daniel Thomas teaches us by means of his articles in The Catholic Chronicle, for example, and by his homilies wherever he visits in the Diocese. He sanctifies people in the Diocese by means of all of the sacraments he celebrates. In particular there is the Sacrament of Confirmation, which is reserved normally to the Bishop. He also consecrates the holy oils that each parish takes home for use in the sacraments. This is also part of his sanctifying function.
In this bulletin letter I thought it would be important to tell you about a significant, recent act of governance by our Bishop. Last week the Bishop announced a new structure for the central offices of the Diocese and for the Bishop’s consultative bodies. The diagram of the new structure is on the next page of this bulletin. This restructuring comes as the fruit of a very long and in-depth study that was begun under Bishop Blair to consider the effectiveness of the central offices of the Diocese.
As part of announcing the new structure, the Bishop reiterated his Diocesan vision (which we heard when he first visited our deanery): Holy Families, Holy Vocations, Holy Disciples (achieved by prayer, fasting and almsgiving). Then he stated the Diocesan mission: To become more evangelical, efficient and effective (which perhaps is the first time many of us are hearing this). Why make structural changes in the central offices? To better serve the new Diocesan vision and mission.
The Bishop thought that new nomenclature would help us focus on the vision and mission; so he wrote, “As a result, the Catholic Center will now be known as the Pastoral Center; Secretariats will be termed Departments; Secretariat Leaders will be titled Senior Directors; and the Bishop’s Cabinet will become Senior Staff. At their core, these changes are ultimately intended to enhance our announcing the Gospel and keeping Christ at the center of everything we do.”
As you meditate on the vision and mission presented by the Bishop, please remember to pray for him (You realize that we pray for him in every Mass). Also, pray for the Diocese and for our parish: that these changes ultimately help us all truly to be better disciples of Jesus Christ.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,