A Priestly Life
What’s it like to be a priest?
For most of us, the place we’re most likely to see a priest each week is at the altar, offering Mass each Sunday. But what does the priest do the rest of the time? Priests spend their days ministering to God’s people. And for a priest in parish life, no two days are ever the same.
A day in the life
Most priests rise early so they can spend some time with Our Lord in prayer before they begin work. Each day, priests pray the Liturgy of the Hours, also called the Divine Office. This is a series of prayers, centered on the psalms, offered at seven different times throughout the day. They form the backbone of a priest’s daily schedule.
A priest will usually offer Holy Mass each day. To celebrate Mass for the salvation and sanctification of God’s people is the chief reason a priest is ordained, and so many priests want to celebrate this gift every day of their priesthood. This encounter with Christ is the literal “high point” of each day, and is the most important thing a priest can do.
A priest will then set about the tasks of the day. In a parish, there is never a shortage of things to do. He may have some appointments with parishioners for counseling, visit sick parishioners in the hospital or in nursing homes, meet with parish staff, or lead talks for parish groups.
Not a job, but a vocation
Being a priest is not a 9-to-5 job, but a vocation that changes who a man is. And so, while priests will take times for rest and relaxation, he is always a priest, even in the middle of the night. If a Catholic is in danger of death, a priest will be at the bedside at any hour to administer the last sacraments, preparing a soul to meet Our Lord. This is a great privilege of the priest, to minister to someone in their final hour of life.
The end of the day
A day in the life of a priest is always a challenge, always a sacrifice, and always fulfilling. Christ supports His priests each day with His special graces to serve His people. Lived well, the life of a priest leads a man to fulfillment and holiness as he serves Christ each day in His Church.