This past week Fr. Pfeiffer and I had some guests from the diocese for dinner and a meeting. During dinner the topic of parochial vicars came up, something that I do not like to think too much on. “Have you given any thought,” one of the visiting priests asked, “to what you will do if Fr. Pfeiffer is not replaced.”
“Constantly,” was my reply and quickly changed the subject for not wanting to talk about it. A parish not too far from us just lost their associate. Even with an associate we were called upon every once in a while to help out with their weekend schedule. Upon losing their parochial vicar the pastor took a chainsaw to the Mass schedule to make it more manageable for one priest.
I thought about sacramental load at St. Sebastian just this past week. When I first arrived confessions were rather rare. (It may have been owing to me being new and people were cautious about confessing their sins to someone they yet know if they can trust.) I would stand up and stretch, draw designs in the dust of the lamp shade (which are still there) and generally spend the hour in my own prayer. Over the years we had developed a reputation of “three priests! No waiting.” Three of us would regularly be busy and often we would go over the time allotted for confessions. Now our priest in residence has left and the time remaining for Fr. Pfeiffer is growing short.
So here is the sacramental diary from this past weekend. There was of course morning Mass, confessions, an infant funeral (and trip to the cemetery), a wedding, Saturday night Mass, 9:00 AM Sunday Mass, Anointing of the Sick, 11:00 AM Mass, two baptisms, and the 1:00PM Mass. This schedule is not unusual (and almost all could possibly be handled by one person if confessions were cut short and somebody else went to the graveyard, but how well would it be accomplished?) and are the things that cannot be handed off to others. Of course, there are the things that we did that could be skipped or handed off to others. There were appointments and rehearsals and visits to various activities going on around the parish. Of the appointments one was a new wedding and TWO were young men considering the priesthood.
To tell the truth, this parish spent some time with only one priest. It will survive it once more if it must I am sure. In the meantime, keep promoting vocations. I am planning on a huge influx of young priests to help me in my old age.
Today is the feast of St. Therese. Consider giving a rose to a young lady who you think should consider the religious life! Maybe she is just waiting for someone to show that they think she is worthy.