I am sure that many priests can say this:
In all of January, there were only 2 days that I took off. Granted it was a brutal month for funerals. My next day off isn’t for several weeks. This came to light after a family invited me to dinner at their home, and the next non-Monday night available on my calendar isn’t until mid-April.
I delegate away as much as I can. But every weekend I have 4 masses. I drive 20 minutes between the 3 on Sunday.
I have one friend who has 6 parishes in 2 counties. Even with 3 having 1 mass one weekend and the other three having 1 mass the next weekend, he still is behind the wheel of his car for some time each weekend.
The priest that replaced me ended up with 2 additional parishes, one of which is a 40 minute drive one way in good conditions… which he does every weekend.
Do you get how much we can’t kick getting serious about vocations any further down the road?
We have sheltered you all from the vocation crisis by arranging mad schedules for the priests to follow week in and week out.
So, when priests hear you all complain about having to go to one Mass a weekend or that the Mass scheduled isn’t convenient, all while getting no help for vocations…
Listen, we do no favors by shielding people from the truth. We bust ourselves out of love of God and love of you. So do us a favor… get serious about vocations. Stop waiting till pristine conditions of orthodoxy exist.
Stop holding your breath until the church does whatever you think it should do. Stop passing the buck. We have played these games and made excuses for far too long.
The harvest is still great, the laborers are still few. No more excuses.
Fr. Bill Peckman is a priest in the Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri. He is the pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Macon, St. Mary Parish in Shelbina, St. Patrick Parish in Clarence, Sacred Heart Parish in Bevier.
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