“What are you going to do with these empty rooms now?” asked the business manager about the vacated bedrooms on the top floor.
“I want to make them into nice suites and lure priests to come to St. Sebastian.” Being alone at the parish I hoped we might find a couple of retired priests that would like to take up residence. Or maybe one of the priests from the seminary would like to become a weekend associate and help with Masses and confessions and stay on for dinner and conversation. Maybe a foreign priest studying at the University would need a place to stay. In any event, if that was to happen, we would first need fitting quarters and so plans were set in motion to start creating desirable living spaces out of what had served as offices.
In general, it seems to me a good thing for parishes that can to have more than one priest to serve them. It is certainly no secret that one size does not fit all in this world and the same holds true when it comes to priests. Having more priests around at St. Sebastian would up the odds that someone not finding me their cup of tea would have a better matched spiritual guide and companion.
Then there is the selfish reason of having another priest to talk to in the evenings. My previous parishes always had at least three priests to discuss the day’s events with. And to be quite honest, there are some things that one should only speak about with other priests. It is also nice just to have something else alive in the house besides a fern with which to watch the game on T.V. or with whom to go to parish functions. But after five o’clock, everybody left and the rectory, and that, which felt cramped and loud during the day, seemed expansive and lonely at night.
The first resident would show up a few weeks into my assignment. The business manager came into my office and asked, “Father, what do you think about a dog?” I tried to hide my eagerness and cautiously asked, “Why do you ask?”
“Well, my sister has a several dogs and cats and they are moving. They have a new dog, a golden retriever and black lab mix that they can no longer care for. Father, it’s a great dog and if I can’t find a home for it, they are going to take it to the pound.”
After a bit of feigned hemming and hawing I agreed to an interview. The dog would visit for one week and then would go back home. Then there would be a staff meeting to see how everybody felt about the dog, and if everybody was Okay with it, St. Sebastian rectory would be its new home.