In these trying times for the Church, one of the resulting tragedies has been that a very small percentage of bad priests have given a bad name to so many good ones. This is most certainly tragic. It’s tragic that so many great priests are going unappreciated. And it’s tragic that so many of us aren’t aware of so many of these wonderful priests. And all of this in this Year of the Priest.
That’s why a neat new project I recently became aware of is so appropriate: Letters to Priests - Thanking the Men of the Catholic Church. It’s “an interactive book being written to promote positive public relations of Catholic Priests.” They are asking everyone to submit letters describing how a priest has positively impacted their lives. Anyone can participate.
More from their website: “You can write about divorce, grieving, loss of jobs, happiness, whatever part of life a Priest has helped you with. Thank them for words that guided your life. This book will reflect the values and strengths of the Catholic Church. Priests give up many things we take for granted. Sharing our gratitude will hopefully clarify the depth of healing so many Priests have given to the Catholic community and beyond.”
I like this idea because:
1) It is collaborative and involves the whole Catholic community. This means it can accomplish a lot with few resources.
2) Since it involves such a diversity of perspectives it has the potential to be a comprehensive collection of unique insights into the various ways priests benefit the community. So much of what they do is behind the scenes and not newspaper headline material, so we never hear about it.
3) It leverages the use of new media to easily gather these letters from all over the world and share them with others.
4) It builds up and recognizes a lot of unsung heroes: Our priests!
You can check out the letters that have been submitted so far by going to their website: LettersToPriests.com.
One of their challenges is trying to let the many Catholics who are not yet online know about the project. So they are encouraging us to spread the news in our parish bulletins and any way we can in order to collect more letters.
Sounds like a worthy cause to me!