Tonight I am thinking about 1) whether it’s awkward to admit liking Taylor Swift’s Dear John song (and maybe humming it every now and then?) and 2) the dedication of a priest. One of these is probably more appropriate to write about than the other.
As an evangelical I was willing to risk my life sharing my faith in “closed” countries as a missionary. I felt dedicated. Yet, I feel like the priests in my home parish are more dedicated than I was ever willing to be.
Celibacy is a huge deal. Whether people agree or disagree with the Roman Catholic Church’s requirement for celibacy of all priests, I think we can agree it’s a huge sacrifice (see defense of celibacy here). The priest does not receive the sacrament of marriage, and is therefore free to dedicate his entire life to the Church. He can be woken up at all hours of the night for hospital visits without worrying about his irritable and tired wife. He can schedule weddings and confession at any time because he is not taking his kids to soccer games. Once he has committed himself to a diocese he also has little say on the parish he gets assigned. If he’s an associate he likely gets shipped around every 3 years. Our church bulletin from a few months back makes the point better than I could:
There’s a lot of ministry to recognize in the almost three years that [our priest] has been with us. Just to put it into context, that’s about 500 Masses per year – 1500 in three years. That includes our regular daily Masses, school Masses, weekend Masses, funerals and weddings, etc. Of course, there is also a lot of ministry with hospital visitation, nursing home and home visits. In addition to these ministries, there’s also the office ministry with one-onone appointments helping people in various ways and perhaps answering questions on how people might grow and understand their faith. . .
Yep, priests are intense.