At the rehearsal dinner for a Marriage I witnessed, somebody told me her son wanted to be a priest because he figured priests took a break all week between Sunday Masses. The irony was that I was in the middle of a period where I was the only priest at the parish for 10 days and I was just getting ready for an already usually busy weekend, plus a wedding (the pastor and the deacon were on a trip to Rome). I laughed and told him he should follow me that weekend. That’s basically the public perception-priests sit around enjoying the finer things in life (maybe somewhere in an alternate universe). I remember when I was in college and my good friend (who, by the way, vested me as a priest) asked me about considering the priesthood. I went back to my dorm room and looked up “what does a priest do?” I had no idea, but now that I am a priest I do have an idea. Many people might not see the priest throughout the week, but on the flip side the priest might not see many of his people during the week (maybe they just sit around all week waiting to come to Sunday Mass?)….
So I decided to catalogue some days and share them with you!
Today is Monday which is my day at the hospital. Here’s what the beginning of the day looked like:
After waking up, I say a little prayer, then I get cleaned up in the morning. I have a cup of coffee, and then I pray some of my breviary/Divine Office, which is the prayer the priest promises the Church he will pray constantly–everyday he prays this throughout the day:
After praying the Divine Office, it was off to the Church to get ready for Mass and expose the Blessed Sacrament.
I then expose the Blessed Sacrament until just before 8am Mass(7am-8am Monday-Friday). Following Mass, time for prayers of Thanksgiving.
After that, I returned to the office where I did some work in preparation for the March for Life in January. The parish is coordinating a bus and I had to do some work making sure checks would be properly written, bulletin announcements are sent to other parishes, etc. I stopped to say hello and chat briefly with the money counters. I checked in with the one employee whose sister is in her last days. On Monday mornings like anywhere, there is usually a lot to catch up on. After all this I got in the car to go to the hospital.
While I am at the hospital, I clock in using my badge, then I go to the office. There I log into the computer, obtain the patient list and have the computer filter to find the Catholics. Then I can easily check to see which patients have yet to see a priest. Then I’m off to the floors to see the patients. Each time I go to the hospital is a bit different, but there’s also a bit of a routine. The hospital like anywhere has a certain flow throughout the day. Today I encountered a few people who really need the gift of Faith–please pray for them. Everything from people hungering for God but who have never been brought to a Church to people fallen away who are indifferent to the Sacramental life. I got a request to visit a man who was all alone, and probably on his last days. I prayed some prayers for the dying, and then decided to sit and pray a Rosary with him. It’s always such a powerful and awesome experience to go to the hospital. It is pretty intense work, so I do usually return pretty tired out.
I eventually left the hospital and returned to the rectory around 3:00. I had my lunch, then tried a little bit of reading but I guess I was tired from walking 4 miles, so I didn’t do too well with that reading (I tried again later with better success). I called a priest friend and caught up with him–I think that was needed because he told me he kept checking the paper to see if my death notice was published! I have been very busy lately, so he’s not too far off the mark.
Then this evening I went off to the local adoration chapel to pray a 2nd holy hour and pray vespers. I prayed for you, and I also am asking the Lord for lots of graces to help me with what I can only envision as a massive tidal wave of work in the future. Many of the priests here are twice my age, so that means I am really praying hard for many good holy men to respond to the Lord’s call to the priesthood. Maybe that man is YOU!
Here’s a good blog post about the shortage of vocations to the priesthood and necessary tough love measures….http://wdtprs.com/blog/2014/12/tough-love-about-the-priest-shortage/
Time for supper and back to work, doing a little bit of reading for my Old Testament class I am teaching.
Now I’m about to call it a day, after yet another slow day of putting my feet up and waiting for Sunday….beeper is armed and at the ready until 8am on Tuesday.