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PIOUS ASSOCIATIONS &

PASTORAL CHALLENGES

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven FACULTY OF THEOLOGY, BELGIUM

PIOUS ASSOCIATIONS & PASTORAL CHALLENGES

A SEMINAR PAPER FOR BACHELORS DEGREE


IN

THEOLOGY

AND

RELIGIOUS

STUDIES, THIRD YEAR, ROLL NO: 10308.

Promoter, Rev. Dr. Cherian Varicatt

Presented by, Cherengaden Dinoy, SDV.

31

TH

OCTOBER

, 2011

CONTENTS Pious Associations And Pastoral Challenges..................................................................1 1. Introduction..................................................................................................................1 2. Meaning .......................................................................................................................1 3. Biblical Part..................................................................................................................1 4. Historical Part..............................................................................................................2 4.1. In The Early Church.............................................................................................2 4.2. Middle Ages..........................................................................................................2 5. Different Types of Pious Associations .......................................................................2 6. Purpose of Pious Associations.....................................................................................3 7. Theology of Charity and Pious associations...............................................................3 8. Importance of Pious Associations...............................................................................4 9. Some Pastoral Challenges Of Pious Associations.......................................................4 9.1. Self-Centered Activities........................................................................................4 9.2. Unhealthy Competitions Between Associations .................................................4 9.3. Political Goals.......................................................................................................4 9.4. Imbalance In Activity...........................................................................................5 9.5. Ego Problems........................................................................................................5 10. Some Pastoral Principles and Solutions....................................................................5 11. Conclusion.................................................................................................................6 BIBLIOGRAPHY ...........................................................................................................6 I Church Documents........................................................................................................6

PIOUS ASSOCIATIONS AND PASTORAL CHALLENGES 1. INTRODUCTION All Christian faithful have a right to form associations.1 By the sacrament of Baptism, a Christian is entitled to carry out the mission of Jesus. It is by the reception of baptism every Christian participates in the mission and ministry of Jesus in the Church. There are so many pious associations in the Catholic Church which are authorized and accepted as an organization to work for the welfare of the different catholic communities and for the glory of God.2 2. MEANING The term Pious comes from the Latin word pietas, which means devout; religious; spiritual; God-fearing and exhibiting religious reverence.3 Associations mean a society; or a group of people organized for a joint purpose. Therefore, Pious Association would mean a group of God-fearing people having the various works of piety, devotion and charity in their action.4 3. BIBLICAL PART Church was started as a movement in Judaism in the beginning. Church started as an association, who believed in Jesus Christ. Jesus formed an association of 12 apostles to proclaim the coming of the kingdom of God, to heal the sick, to drive out the demons etc (Mt 10,1-15). In the Acts of the Apostles we see that the whole community of believes were one in heart and mind. They sold their private property and laid it at the feet of the apostles (Ac 4,32-37). As the members in their association increased, they selected deacons (Ac 6,1-8). The missionary journey of St. Paul and other disciples were to form their associations in different part of the world. We can also see the charity fund that St. Paul collects from different churches for the persecuted Church in Jerusalem (2 Cor 8,1-24). St. Paul also speaks about the necessity of Charity in his letters (2 Cor 9,1-15).

1 Thomas Pazhayampallil, Pastoral Guide: A Hand Book on the Latin and oriented Codes of Canon law, Vol.3 (Banglore: KristuJyothi pub, 1998), 354. 2 Manu, Pious Associations (2006), available from http://fremmanuel.blogspot.com/2011/07/pious-associations.html; accessed on 25 October 2011. 3 Simpson.D.P., Cassells New Latin-English English- Latin Dictionary (London: Cassell & Complany Ltd, 1966), 449. 4 Manu, Pious Associations (2006), available from http://fremmanuel.blogspot.com/2011/07/pious-associations.html.

4. HISTORICAL PART 4.1. IN THE EARLY CHURCH During the first three centuries, there were two methods in the Church by which alms were collected for the use of the poor. One of these was that a chest was kept in the church and into this every member was expected to put a contribution at least monthly; the amount was left to the conscience of the giver. These offerings were expended on the relief of the poor, provision of funeral expenses, education of boys and girls and the care of shipwrecked mariners, and of the prisoners for the cause of Christ. Besides this, there was also the collection at the Eucharist, which was called oblations.5 The distribution of these oblations and alms was entrusted to deacons. It was their duty to make diligent search for those who were in affliction or need, and report their names to the Bishop. The Church was the only channel of charity.6 4.2. MIDDLE AGES The British historian and social writer William Lecky notes that around 1200 AD Christianity for the first time made charity a rudimentary virtue, giving it a leading place in the moral type, and in the exhortation of its teachers. A vast organization of charity, presided over by Bishops, and actively directed by the deacons, soon ramified over Christendom, till the bond of charity became the bond of unity, and the most distant sections of the Christian Church corresponded by the interchange of mercy.7 During the Middle Ages many of these pious associations placed themselves under the special protection of the Blessed Virgin and chose her as their patron. The main object and duty of these societies were the practice of piety and works of charity. 5. DIFFERENT TYPES OF PIOUS ASSOCIATIONS All pious associations or sodalities may be divided into three classes, although those classes are not absolutely distinct from one another. The first class seeks mainly to attain piety, devotion and the increase of love of god by special veneration of Blessed Virgin Mary, the Angels and the saints. The second class chiefly founded to

S.Emmanuel, Pious Associations, Divine Shepherds Voice 4 (2008), 235-243, p. 237. Manu, Pious Associations (2006), available from http://fremmanuel.blogspot.com/2011/07/pious-associations.html. 7 Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Sodality (2007), available from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodality_%28Catholic_Church%29; accessed on 25 October 2011.
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promote the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. The third class is the well being and improvement of a definite class of persons.8 6. PURPOSE OF PIOUS ASSOCIATIONS The Christian faithful are free to form and direct associations for purposes of charity or piety or for the promotion of the Christian vocation in the world and to hold meetings for the common pursuit of the following purposes. 1) Fostering a more Christian life; 2) Promoting public worship; 3) Promoting Christian doctrine; d) Exercising other works of the apostolate such as evangelization; works of piety and works of charity.9 7. THEOLOGY OF CHARITY AND PIOUS ASSOCIATIONS Pope John Paul II in his apostolic exhortation Novo Millennio Inuente gives us important guidelines for the reorientation of Christian life. He constructs the edifice of Christian life on three pillars: 1) Contemplation of the face of Christ; 2) Word .of God and Sacraments; 3) Spirituality of communion.10 Contemplation leads to communion and mission. Communion with Jesus gives rise to the communion of Christians among themselves. The Christian norm of the love for the neighbor is the love of Christ himself for his disciples. 11 From the earliest days of the Church, each member of the Church is bound to love of ones neighbor. Charity within the community is also a collective responsibility of the entire church. Pope Benedict XVI says that there is no compromise in the image of the church as a community of love. Love thus needs to be organized if it is to be an ordered service to the community.12 In fulfillment of the works of mercy outlined by Christ himself, the church feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, cares for the sick, visits the imprisoned, etc. It is essential for the charitable offices of the church, like pious

Manu, Pious Associations (2006), available from http://fremmanuel.blogspot.com/2011/07/pious-associations.html. 9 John P. Beal, ed., New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law (Bangalore: Theological Publications in India, 2003), 402. 10 John Paul II, Novo Millenio Inuente, Nos. 29-45, in Apostolic Letters: Johm paul II (Trivandrum: Carmel International Publishing House, 2005), 139-153. 11 Singh. N.K., Spiritual Value of Social Charity (Delhi: Global Vision Publishing House, 2001), 8-9. 12 Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, no. 20 (Trivandrum: Carmal International Publishing house, 2006), 37-38.

associations on different levels to provide resources and trained personnel to address these needs.13 8. IMPORTANCE OF PIOUS ASSOCIATIONS Works of mercy is defined as the love of God expressed through the Godmade-man event in Christ and as mans love of neighbor. Charity is love of men for the sake of God and is stimulated by the love of Christ for man. This implies that love to God comes first in our estimation and that in this love the other has its origin and its significance: brotherly affection is founded on piety.14 9. SOME PASTORAL CHALLENGES OF PIOUS ASSOCIATIONS Pious associations are inevitable for the smooth functioning of the parishes. It helps the parish priest for a better pastoral care of the parish. By involving in the parish life they make the community very lively. But in certain occasions there arises some tensions between parish priests and pious associations. Some of the challenges are given below. 9.1. SELF-CENTERED ACTIVITIES It is the primary duty of the associations to help the parish priest in his pastoral activities and co-operate with the diocese. Some time pious associations act for its own sake or for the selfish interest of their leaders. Some people are involved in the pious associations in order to get fame and keep their dignity in the society. 9.2. UNHEALTHY COMPETITIONS BETWEEN ASSOCIATIONS It is very evident in some parishes the unhealthy competitions among associations which had to work together for the goals of Kingdome of God. It reduces the Christian spirituality and brings hostility between the members of the different associations. Thus the goal of associations fails. 9.3. POLITICAL GOALS Some of the members in the associations are working in it with some political goals, either to get support from parish priest and parishners, thus canvassing Christian votes or to spy the parish matters to some other parties and turn the believers Pious associations help Christianity to practice and live the true Christian life that Jesus really envisioned

Shaji Mundaplackal, Deus Caritas Est: An Overview, Jeevadhara (Malayalam) November (2007), p.542-543. 14 Manu, Pious Associations (2006), available from http://fremmanuel.blogspot.com/2011/07/pious-associations.html.

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into atheistic principles and to destroy the associations. The pastor should be very careful and diligent especially at the time of nomination of the leaders. 9.4. IMBALANCE IN ACTIVITY Some time pious associations may go to the extreme level of prayer only or activities only. Prayer and work should go balanced. Action without prayer is futile and prayer without charity is useless. 9.5. EGO PROBLEMS The core root of the clashes between associations and parish priests are mainly egoistic. Some time some adamant mentality of priests and their egoistic abnormalities keep away the members of the associations. Without encouraging the young people or parishners, the rude behaviour of priests and the wounds that they injects in the hearts of the faithful causes the people to go away from the parish affairs and join in the protestant or Pentecostal churches or some other political parties. 10. SOME PASTORAL PRINCIPLES AND SOLUTIONS Pious associations must be suitable for the circumstances and need of the parishes and it is not compulsory to form all pious associations in the parish Without proper necessity new associations shall not be formed and make the existing associations more dynamic and energetic. The pious associations should act closely with the diocese or with the local hierarchy. The priest should be the guiding person and he must lead them both spiritually and temporally with proper freedom and initiative. The parish priest should study about each associations and their aim and activities and then only he can start an association in his parish according its need. Parish priest should teach the members of association about the history of association and their rights and duties in the associations. Avoid compulsory membership in the association and choose those who are interested to work in it whole heartedly. Encourage the people to involve at least one of the associations and discourage membership in different associations. Different offices in one association must not be entrusted to one person alone. ( eg. president act as a treasurer)

Arrange orientation programs for the members in the associations. Pious associations should spend sufficient time in the prayer. Sufficient freedom must be given to the associations for a better functioning. In order to avoid the clashes between the associations there should have the annual program chart where every association gets the equal role in the parish activities.

Parish priest must not be partial to any group or associations. There must have proper report book and account book for every association and they must be kept updated. The members of associations must be well informed of their programs and plans and if there is any change in their schedule, the information must be passed to every member of the associations.

Vicar of the parish must be vigilant and vibrant in keeping the associations in his parish very dynamic and enthusiastic. If he fails in it, associations would be a head ache for him and for the parishners.15

11. CONCLUSION The pious associations in the church must participate in the mission of the church. Through these associations, Christian faithful are strived to foster more perfect life, or to promote public worship or Christian teaching. We need to work towards nurturing the pious associations. For the fruitful accomplishment of the mission, the church must be aware of the present day threats to the humanity to which she ministers. She is interested in social, economical, and political affairs because of the gospel which concern for ethical, spiritual and religious values. Pious associations, however, should have the basic qualities of piety and charity. Always they should work in real love for God and for one another as Christ has loved each one of us. All the charitable actions must empower the poor and to keep up the human dignity in the society; the equality and dignity. BIBLIOGRAPHY I CHURCH DOCUMENTS

15 Mathew Mankuzhikkary, Ajapalanadharmam [Malayalam] (Vadavathoor: St. Thomas Book Stall, 1999), 262-264.

John Paul II, Novo Millenio Inuente. In Apostolic Letters: Johm paul II. Trivandrum: Carmel International Publishing House, 2005, pp.139-153. Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est. Trivandrum: Carmal International Publishing house, 2006. II Books Mankuzhikkary, Mathew, Ajapalanadharmam [Malayalam]. Vadavathoor: St. Thomas Book Stall, 1999. N.K. Singh. Spiritual Value of Social Charity. Delhi: Global Vision Publishing House, 2001. Pazhayampallil, Thomas. Pastoral Guide: A Hand Book on the Latin and oriented Codes of Canon law, Vol.3. Banglore: KristuJyothi pub, 1998. P. Beal, John. ed., New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law. Bangalore: Theological Publications in India, 2003. Simpson, D.P. Cassells New Latin-English English- Latin Dictionary. London: Cassell & Complany Ltd, 1966. III Articles Emmanuel, S. Pious Associations. Divine Shepherds Voice 4 (2008), 235-243. Mundaplackal, Shaji. Deus Caritas Est: An Overview. Jeevadhara (Malayalam) November (2007), 542-543. IV Internet Manu, Pious Associations (2006), available from http://fremmanuel.blogspot.com/2011/07/pious-associations.html; accessed on 25 October 2011. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Sodality (2007), available from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodality_%28Catholic_Church%29; accessed on 25 October 2011.