Four new pastors of the Diocese of Allentown recently spent a week learning how best to serve their parishes.
The conference was at St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore, Md., fittingly the first seminary founded in the United States after the Revolution, in 1791.
Participating from our diocese were:
Father Giuseppe Esposito, parochial administrator of St. Charles Borromeo, Ashland and St. Joseph the Worker, Frackville.
Father Joseph Ganser, parochial administrator of Sacred Heart, Palmerton.
Father Speratus Kamanzi, A.J., pastor of St. John the Baptist, Allentown.
Father G. Jose Kochuparambil (Father Johnson), pastor of Most Blessed Trinity, Tremont.
A pastor exercises the pastoral care of the local community committed to him under the authority of the diocesan bishop in whose ministry of Christ he has been called to share. Diocesan policy states that a priest being entrusted with the pastoral care of a parish for the first time be appointed a “parochial administrator” for at least one year.
The five-day workshop is designed exclusively for new pastors and parish life coordinators.
Each day addresses a different aspect of the pastor’s role: the pastor as a person, as steward, as administrator, and as priest, as well as the Catholic community and pastoral leadership.
Topics covered included: stewardship and development, pastoring multiple parishes, how to work with staff, canonical obligations of pastors, how to handle the stress of being a pastor, and pastoral ministry and spiritual life.
“It was an incredible opportunity to meet men from all over the East Coast,” said Father Ganser.
“It gave us the chance to share our stories and discuss the real issues and challenges facing our parishes. But most importantly, it was an opportunity to pray together and for one another.
“Very often our priests and parishes feel isolated. The problems facing our communities can often seem overwhelming. It was nice to remember that we’re not in this alone. The problems we are facing each day are shared throughout our region. And praying together was a nice way to strengthen us for the work of rebuilding that we’re all called to undertake.”