by Fr. Nicholas Ceko
Considering myself to be still among the youngest of the brethren, and hence less experienced then many, I approached this subject with fear and trembling ... not as much because I knew that this paper was going to be presented before the Bishop and my brother priests, but more so because, as are all things, it is presented before God, who is the one to whom we must answer for our every word. In thinking about this enormous topic, I drew from my experience growing up in this country and serving the Church in my adult life in various capacities for now 20 years. This includes my work as a lay person as well as my service to the Church as a priest. The seriousness of this subject is one which causes the most fear, because more and more each day I am convinced that the influence of what is commonly called secularism on the work of the priest and parish is greater and greater. Having heard the presentation of Fr. Petar Jovanovic on this subject, I have chosen to focus my presentation on The Work of the Priest and Pastoral Ministry in our contemporary American secular society. The question I hope to address is: How did the parish, and hence the role of the priest get to be what it is during century in the United States - What some have called the Missionary period - which was the bringing together of "our people" who fled their homes after the catastrophe of what befell the "old country."