June 13, 2017 – By Jim McCarville

The Association of Pittsburgh Priests (APP) will consider a significant re-statement of its constitution at its Membership/Social, at 2 PM, August 6, 2017. (A short, single-issue business meeting to consider the new constitution will precede the socializing.)

According to John Pillar, an attorney and treasurer of the APP,  “The new constitution will bring the organization into line with actual practices, clearly allowing for equal organizational roles for ordained priests, lay people and women religious. It will also allow the organization to file as a Non-Profit going forward, which may open other doors for other involvement in the community.”

Long-time member Marcia Snowden, working on the APP history project, says “APP has a remarkable 50-year history, from its formation by ordained priests after the Second Vatican Council and its role in the early struggles against the Vietnam War, to the creation of the Thomas Merton Center, and the fights for racial equality, civil rights and labor justice — right up to the present time. It is a story that needs to be told,” she said.

“But as time went on,” added Pillar, “lay and non-ordained members assumed greater roles in response to what the Catholic Church refers to as ‘our baptismal call to be priests’– ‘priests’ with a small ‘p’, that is. Initially it may sound intimidating, but it shouldn’t be. This doesn’t supplant the ordained role, but given the shortage of ordained priests, it just finds innovative ways to help spread the good news”, he said.

There is a long-standing Catholic tradition, derived from the Letters of Peter (I Peter, 2:9) and Paul (Romans,15:16), and the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 28:19) that all share in the priestly ministry – and obligation – to spread the joy of the Gospel. This tradition has been re-stated by the last three Popes. Most recently, Pope Francis summed it up in Evangelii Gaudium, by saying, “In virtue of their baptism, all members of the People of God … are agents of evangelization.”

The APP supports issues consistent with the Social Gospel, like non-violence and immigration reform, and sponsors a very popular Speaker Series.

“The first speaker this fall will be Karen Clifton, President of the Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Use of the Death Penalty and Promote Restorative Justice. She will speak at 7 PM on September 11, 2017, at the Kearns Spirituality Center,” said Fr. John Oesterle. (See article below on this year’s Fall Speakers’ Series).

Restorative Justice supports the true healing of the victims of crime as well as the healing of the perpetrator.

The APP is reaching out to groups and persons concerned about crime, sentencing and healing, in order to build support in the community as well.

Anyone interested in attending the Membership/Social may contact me by email at assocpghpriests@gmail.com. General Information on the APP and the Speakers’ Series can be found at www.associationofpittsburghpriests.com.


Jim McCarville is on the Steering Committee for the Association of Pittsburgh Priests and is a member of the TMC Board of Directors.