Do you ever regret being a priest?
No. How could I ever regret following God’s call? I love being a priest. I get to spend each day doing the Lord’s work. Now it isn’t always easy, but who said life is ever easy? Following Christ is a matter of doing the will of the Father, which is challenging yet always full of peace and joy.
Priesthood is a vocation just as marriage is a vocation—something to which God calls us. Do married couples regret getting married? Sometimes yes, but hopefully not. I think I have the advantage of having thought about priesthood almost 10 years before I even entered seminary. It was not an easy or light decision to become a priest—thus the recent (10/11) Kansas City Star article in the Faith section about me titled “the reluctant priest”. I also had 5 years in seminary to prepare me for priesthood and to “try it on” a bit before I made my formal promises before God. Most married couples do not go through 5 years of full-time marriage preparation to say the least. Thus, I knew full well what I was getting into by becoming a priest, and I can’t say I really have been surprised by life as a priest. There are always a few surprises of course, and that makes life interesting.
Since starting on the path to priesthood, I have had the opportunity to spend a summer learning Spanish in Mexico (of which I have forgotten much), a summer as a camp counselor at Camp Tekakwitha, and a summer of being a chaplain at Research Hospital. I have made several pilgrimages to Rome, and one big one to Turkey, Greece, and Italy (footsteps of St. Paul). I have studied all about God, about the Bible, about our faith, and our Church history. I’ve hung out with priests, bishops, cardinals, and I’ve seen the pope several times. I even shook hands with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.
As a priest, I have celebrated numerous joyous weddings and baptisms. I’ve consoled numerous grieving people at funerals. I’ve offered Christ’s forgiveness and healing to untold numbers of penitents in the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick. Above all I get to pray the prayer of Christ and hold His Body and Blood in my hands at Mass every day (sometimes more than once a day). And I even find time to hang out with family and friends, run around the block (there have been many reported sightings of me), or ride my bike. Thinking about it, I can’t believe I have done all the things I’ve done, and I’ve only just begun! I never set out to do all this stuff. Shoot, I’m just a farm boy who wanted a job dealing with computers. Regrets? No way! I thank God that God has blessed me with this awesome gift of priesthood.
If you would like submit a question, please write it out and place it in the “Ask a Priest” box in the vestibule or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.