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Private ministries in the Church

31 Oct 2016, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Doctrines

catholics-come-homeThe harvest is indeed rich, but the laborers are few. These are the words of Jesus, and it sends the message that more hands are needed in evangelism. Therefore, as Christians, we are all called to rise to this responsibility, to preach the gospel of Christ without fear or favour. The responsibility of the Church is our responsibility because we are the Church.

In this great responsibility entrusted to the Church by Christ, the mission’s meticulous organization is required; it is not a scattered mission. Jesus had said to the apostles that they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8), there was a sense of orderliness in their mission. That sense of orderliness is visibly present in the Catholic Church. Every Catholic is enjoined to collaborate with the Church’s hierarchy to bring about the fulfillment of this great mission to evangelize the world.

Though the Catholic Church seems high ‘clericalized,’ she has so much respect for the lay faithful and has a place of honour for them. A few weeks ago, I made this point when I was invited to talk to the lay leaders of the Apapa deanery of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos on the topic; The lay leaders in the propagation of mercy. I made them understand that we all have been challenged to be evangelists as Pope Benedict XVI did seven years ago when he inaugurated an ecclesial conference for the Diocese of Rome on “Church Membership and Pastoral Co-responsibility.” He challenged the lay people to learn to see themselves not as mere collaborators with the clergy but also to see themselves as co-responsible for the Church’s mission by Christ Jesus. But this co-responsibility is becoming a problem, especially in the Church of Nigeria. Some few lay faithful now see it as a call to gain autonomy and rise against and cause division in the Church.

In many Catholic parishes today in Nigeria, private ministries abound. These ministries are run by Catholics who claim to be in full communion with the Catholic Church yet prefer to remain private. These ‘ministries’ have become a preparatory ground for creating more Christian denominations. We must know that the call for co-responsibility is not a call to division; the Catholic Church is one; it’s holy and apostolic.

In the Catholic Church, we have so many devotional societies, groups, and organizations approved by the Church. The call for co-responsibility can be answered within any of these groups without necessarily going out of the Church to run a private ministry in the name of co-responsibility. The manner, the rush, and the zeal with which these ministries are run raise a lot of suspicions, especially the jalousies between those operating these ministries.

Catholics must beware! Do not be deceived.

  • Ada Reply

    so delighted on this topic. Fr, as a catholic, it bothers me too on how some so called private ministries involve the some catholic clergies (priests) to operate those ministries with them. within this Lagos Arch-dioceses, we have many of them that operates with some catholic priest and my question is. 1. is it that the church assigned or licenced them to operate. 2. why do we always see some of the catholic clergies operating with them?

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    Private ministries are not part of the Church, I’ve not heard that any Catholic bishop approved a particular one. If some Catholic clergy joins these groups, then we need to investigate their authenticity.

  • Very well worded!