I remember Fr. Hilkert my first pastor as a priest saying how much the priesthood could be like an arranged marriage. One day you are living alone and the next you get a phone call and are told there will be someone living, working, and eating with you. Clear out the junk you have in the spare room!
The priest who be joining us is a retired priest and the young parochial vicar and I sat down and talked about having another priest living with us. He is all gun ho about it. His attitude is that he is a priest in need and we should welcome him with no questions asked. That is a great attitude. My fears are really quite small. I hope that he doesn’t like to talk during movies or cook fish. Having an elder voice and presence in the house is important and we as priests should be setting an example of taking care of family when we can – and we can.
The parish from which our priest is coming is closing – in fact it closed yesterday so that sorrow will be raw. We went to go visit him last week. The parish is a not so good part of town (understatement) and attendance has dropped off considerably. In fact, the pastor, in order to keep things going, had stopped taking a salary and filled the position of pastor, janitor, business manager, cook, and – well – every position there was except secretary. And the place was immaculate. Even the boiler room was clean, painted, and had pictures hanging in it. If it were not for the machinery taking up so much space no one could complain about eating in there.
The outside of the buildings are tired and there are marks of vandalism but he takes pride that he was able to hold hearth and home together for so long. “It is time to go,” he said but it will be hard. I hope that he finds a happy home at Saint Sebastian.