26 November 2008

Days in the life of a priest

I have not posted anything over the last few days not because I haven’t been busy, but because what I’ve been up to doesn’t seem bloggable, really. Nonetheless, I should probably say something.

Let’s start with Monday. After celebrating Mass at 6:30, I went to the radio station for another interview. We had sort of a double shift – nearly thirty minutes, talking about the recent Synod of Bishops and then about the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in Quincy at the Shrine of St. Rose of Lima.

I’ve made arrangements to attend Mass there Friday when I’m home for a few days. This will be the first EF that I have attended. I’m looking forward to the experience, though I’m not quite sure what to expect.

After the radio interview I raced off to the high school for an assembly to talk about the “Dawg Pound,” the place in the stands where the students cheer at basketball games. Over the years, the Dawg Pound has not always cheered with Christian sentiments in mind and at heart. Much of this has carried on for a couple of generations, making it all the more difficult to root out.

The high school principal, the head basketball coach and I each addressed the students asking them to be respectful toward the officials and other teams and to be supportive of our own team. We stressed time and again that we want them to have fun, but that we want them to remember also to treat others with the charity that is required of Christians. I reminded that I like mischief; I don’t like trouble. I’m happy to say that the Dawg Pound was well behaved at the game Monday night; I hope they keep it up at tonight’s game.

Later Monday morning I had a meeting discussing our current plans to give a complete overhaul to the entire parish and schools web site. This has been a dream of mine for many years. We’ve found the software and support we want and are moving forward at a quick pace, first with a brief survey to see what people use/like/dislike/want on the web site.

After this meeting it was time to play chess during lunch at the high school.

After chess club I snuck back to the rectory for a bit of quiet time and to work on a few things. I’ve contracted with Ignatius Press again this year to sell their books and movies as a fundraiser, this time to help with a pilgrimage to the March for Life in January. Part of the afternoon was spent sorting through the merchandise and pricing it.

Then I was off to wrestling practice for two hours, after which I dashed off to our mission parish for a Bible study on Saint Paul’s teaching on the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Immediately after the Bible study I raced back to the high school to supervise the Dawg Pound. Then I went to bed, only to wake up at 2:30 a.m. for some unknown reason.

When I awoke it was very clear to me that I simply would not fall asleep again. I decided, then, to head over to the office and clean out my e-mail inboxes (I have too many different accounts). By 4:00 a.m. that task was complete so I returned to bed for a short while before the 6:30 Mass. (In the time I was in the office the temperature dropped more than 10 degrees, which might be why I didn’t sleep well.)

After Mass I went to the high school to help answer phones and to remind students of the deadline for registration for the March for Life. At 8:30 I had another meeting for the web site survey.

At 10:15 I went to a midday prayer and a meeting of the priests of the Effingham Deanery. We were to discuss “Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest,” stipends, stole fees and compensation for “fill-in” priests. They were interesting discussions, to say the least. After the meeting we ate lunch. Priests can’t get together without food; if you don’t have food, they’re not likely to come.

After lunch I returned to the high school to watch a new cheer being taught to some members of the Dawg Pound; it should be great. Afterwards I stayed around the school for an hour or so chatting with students in P.E. and study halls.

Wrestling practice began about 3:30 and ended at 4:45. I then returned to the rectory to rest for a bit and to have something to eat. About 7:30 I went back to the high school to meet a friend who was in town for a basketball game. As it happened, his plans changed at the last minute and he didn’t make it to the game. I ended up visiting with two of the high school teachers – who are close to my age – for two hours. Then I went to bed.

This morning I celebrated the 6:30 Mass and went back to the high school to help answer phones (one of the secretaries is out this week) and to round up paperwork for the March for Life pilgrimage (it’s due today to me).

In a few minutes I’ll be off to celebrate Mass at one of the assisted living facilities in town that I like to call the “St. Anthony of Padua Retirement Monastery”.

At Noon today the Pastor will celebrate Mass for the high school students, which will be followed by their annual Thanksgiving dinner (it’s always a hit). I know I’ll be at the dinner. I haven’t decided about the Mass yet, but I’m told a number of students want me to be there.

Wrestling practice will follow the dinner. At 7:00 I have an appointment with a couple for marriage and at 8:00 I’ll head back to the high school to supervise the Dawg Pound.

As you can see, it’s been a busy few days with much of the time spent at the high school. When I met with Bishop Lucas last week he reminded me that time at the high school “is always time well spent.” He’s right, of course. It keeps me bouncing back and forth but it’s very enjoyable.

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