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Clergy and Religious
There are two types of priests in the church: Diocesan and Religious
Those who become Diocesan priests normally join their local diocese and remain within that diocese for the rest of their (priestly) lives. They are at the service of the local Bishop, and most are appointed to parishes.
Those who become Religious Order priests join a particular Congregation and make religious profession prior to ordination. During their life as priests they are at the service of their Congregation or Order, led by a Provincial. They may be appointed to a parish or to some other ministry and live in the diocese to which they are appointed. Some religious Congregations have brothers as well as priests among their members. These brothers minister in a variety of areas such as education, faith formation, administration etc.
Among such well known Congregations are Marists, Franciscans, Jesuits and Passionists. Apart from these Congregations, there are also religious congregations of Brothers and Congregations of Sisters. Well known Orders of this kind include Christian Brothers, De La Salle Brothers, St John of God Brothers, and Sisters of Charity, Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of St Joseph (Josephites) and Carmelites.
Each religious Congregation has its own distinctive gift or charism and this determines the kind of life and mission the members live and proclaim. Often this charism is expressed in a particular vow that the members take, along with the three vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience which all religious make. In the years following Vatican 2 each religious Congregation was asked to renew its way of life by returning to the spirit and charism of their founder.
One result of this was a significant departure of members of every Congregation perhaps signaling that religious life had become ‘safe and sure’ rather than ‘bold and challenging’. Founders of religious orders, such as Mary McKillop had a brave vision, and often they met with opposition from church authorities.
Today the charism (or founding spirit) of religious Congregations is being shared by laity who are sometimes made official Associates of a Congregation. This move has meant that more people are seeking to understand the distinctive character of religious with whom they have an association. In order to do this it is necessary to understand something of the background of the person who founded the Congregation, the times in which he or she lived and the vision they had for those who were to join.
The founder of the Passionists was an Italian Paul Danei, known as St Paul of the Cross.
In order to understand the distinctive spirit of the Passionists today, it is necessary to understand the times in which Paul lived (1694-1775) and what he was seeking to achieve by starting a Congregation. Doing this enables those who carry the spirit today (Professed or Associates) to carry out their ministry with that same dynamic spirit and charism.
Those involved in leadership within the Passionist Family Group Movement will benefit from an appreciation of the spirit of Paul of the Cross and the Passionists. Our Formation this year will focus on this spirit, using a retreat style throughout the day.