A PRIEST’S LIFE
Last week, a student at Cathedral asked me at football practice what a priest does all day. I started listing all the things I had done that day, and he said, “I thought you just prayed and read the Bible.” Most people have no idea all that a priest does. Here is a bit of insight.
Consider St. Mary parish is about 700 families; that is roughly 2100 people. Assumption parish is about 80 families, which is about 200 people. Cathedral has 617 students and about 50 faculty/staff members. That means that I have roughly 3000 people who classify themselves as connected to something which falls under my pastoral responsibility. On top of that, the Church foresees that pastors are spiritually and morally responsible for every person (Catholic or not) who live in their parish boundaries. This means that I also have responsibility for those who attend Mass at St. Joseph Monastery, which includes about another 20 Spanish-speaking families and their children. It also includes anyone who currently lives in the Catholic Charities safe house and all those who are impoverished in town, as well as any tourists who come to visit the church.
During any given week, I usually have on average 15 individual meetings with people — parishioners, students, parents, teachers, etc. I hear on average 40-50 confessions a week. I currently have 13 marriages I am preparing and 3 annulments. During any given week, I usually accept around four invitations to visit a home or go out to eat with families for dinner. Every week I have at least one school related meeting and two church meetings (commissions, councils). This week I had finance council for the school and for Assumption, the school board, the liturgy commission, and RCIA. I also went to ICU twice to anoint the sick, visited a hospice facility, and made two sick calls to people’s homes. I wrote two 3-page homilies (the School and Sunday Masses). I celebrate on average 11 Masses a week, though I only preach at 9. I make an effort to visit the school every day either in classes or at a sport’s practice.
A priest is meant to be a father, and his parish is his family. I remember in seminary a professor told me that a priest should feel like a father who works all day for his family, comes home and spends time with his kids, then falls asleep.
All that is to say that priests do indeed work more than on Sundays. And, if you get my number from someone and text me or catch me after Mass to ask if you can meet me and I tell you to call Regina to set it up, I’m not pushing you off.
–Fr. Aaron Williams