This was a line from a newly ordained priest for the Diocese of Cleveland. He had visited St. Sebastian on Monday night to talk to our confirmation candidates, their parents, and sponsors about being on fire for God. Afterward in the rectory he made that comment about being a pastor. He was “Home Alone,” his pastor being on his annual retreat. “I’m not running the parish,” he was quick to clarify, “but I’m discovering there is a lot more to it than I originally imagined.”
Besides being an “expert” (as much as anybody is) on matters of faith, God, and people’s souls, there are budgets and roofs and counseling. Art, education, tax laws, city ordinances, Increasing federal laws, and being able to play the politician (you can’t say yes to everything but try to keep people involved and happy) and more are all nuances of a pastor.
“I had to say, ‘No,’ to someone today,” he said. “Gosh was that difficult. It was something that the person really wanted and I knew the pastor (who was away) didn’t. I had to find a way to say no without getting this very enthusiastic person upset.” It is a very difficult thing.
That was an interesting lesson to learn for such a recently ordained priest.
Then the next morning tragedy struck his parish. One of the school children had died. Pulled away from Mass, he had to run out to scene to pray and comfort. But Mass could not be left unfinished and so he had to returned to finish Mass after witnessing this as duty called him to do. But things would not end there. This is something with which they will be dealing for a long time.
Fortunately the pastor was able to hurry home and assist with his wizened and time tested years dealing with all kinds of things and together, along with a wonderful, faith filled community, they began the process of coping and healing.
This weekend is Priesthood Sunday. Imagine how different things would have been if there was not a priest on hand at the parish that morning - if there were not someone living at the parish that could handle emergencies around the clock - if there were not someone free of familial obligations so as to be able to be that representative of Christ (however imperfectly we do so) whenever and for as long as needed. Please pray for vocations. Suggest to a young man that you think he might make a good priest. Be a part of the solution of making sure our Catholic community is well tended in the future.