Saturday, June 20, 2009


Today marks the beginning of the Year of the Priest in the Church. Each year the Church chooses a particular theme to focus on, so that we can grow together in understanding of that particular part of our faith. Last year was the year of St. Paul. This year the Holy Father has asked us to pray and reflect on the priesthood. Being a seminarian I am sure that this will mean many special conferences, reflections and talks. Too bad it will not mean that the Pope will knock a few years off my future studies!

Friday afternoon I finished up a course on the images/attributes of the priesthood. It was taught by two wonderful men who really have a love for what they do and for the Church. The class explored the images of the priest (Shepherd, Spiritual Physician, etc...). It was fascinating and really went a long way in encouraging my personal vocation. One of the things we talked about in great length was what it is that makes a good priest and what does not.

I loved this part because I think so many of us have experienced both. Our teachers were great in that they stressed that people do not expect priests to be perfect, but rather only that they respond with great love, always! I could not agree more. It is amazing how true this is wherever we are. I think most people would recognize that no boss, priest or parent is perfect. Most people are willing to give slack and to forgive. However, when it comes to responding with love and compassion there is no room for compromise. We talked at length about priests who become priests to enjoy the bachelor's life, with no kids, no wife, no responsibilities after the work day is done. We lamented the attitude of some, who see the parish day ending at 5:00pm. How funny it is that some people and priests view life this way, as if they can just shut of the lights, close the door and call it a day. I wonder how many parents would love to do the same. Shut the door, call it a day and pretend the kids don't exist when they are tired or annoying. We discussed how a priest needs to always be ready and must guard against the attitude of- "I can anoint the sick in the morning." Our teacher made a great point- what do you think parents do at 2:00am when the kids are sick, or the baby needs to be fed. He furthered, "your job is to love and to lead, and it never ends, there is no time when you can punch off the clock."

One of our readings said we should list what priests should be and what they should not and that we should go back and review at least once a year. So below is my start (it is 11pm and I am going to bed- so please excuse its simplicity). I welcome and would appreciate your additions. Sometimes it is good to be reminded of what one needs to be. Your suggestions will be added to my list, which will be kept in my breviary( book of psalms/daily prayers). I will carry it with me and use it to remind myself of what is important.

A Priest should be:
- prayerful
- loving
- available
- funny
- faith filled
- energetic
- inviting and always reaching out
- understanding
- compassionate
- always giving from the heart
- humble
-Good Listener

A Priest should not be:
- too busy
- rushed
- judgemental
- a glorified bachelor
- self absorbed
- an ego maniac
- power hungry

Please post your suggestions!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

sounds amazing, glad you're going to this

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