Priests Are People, Too


Being a revert who left the Church in my teens, I spent much of my life without any regular connection with Catholic priests, except for ones I saw on TV. Now, through social media and in-person meetings, I’m happy to have a handful of active priests I can turn to for advice, help with articles and even spiritual direction.

I can’t even remember the name of the priest I had growing up — but when I was in junior high school, I think I thought he was cute — so having your first real encounters with priests as an adult  is a different experience than looking up to one as a child.

Also, writing about the Church allows me to tap not only into their pastoral abilities but their education and experiences as individuals, so I get to know them as people and not just as the man at the altar. And I have to say, they’ve impressed me to no end with their knowledge, insight, patience, good humor and deep understanding of human nature.

(Recently, in my other life as an entertainment journalist, I met the Sons of Thunder — two seminarians and a transitional deacon — competing on GSN’s “American Bible Challenge,” if they’re any indication of the priestly up-and-comers, we’re in good hands.)

Especially in this secular age, with its hostility to Christianity, particularly Catholicism — and in the wake of the scandals in which the actions of the evil few tarnished the rest — for a man to have the wherewithal to commit his whole life to the Church, and to walk out into the world wearing that collar, is nothing short of miraculous.

So, when I saw this post at the blog for FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) on “19 Ways to Let Your Parish Priest Know You Appreciate Him,” I turned to my priest pals to see if writer Jonathan Teixeira and the parish priests he asked for suggestions got it right.

One said, “Of course!”

The other said, “This is great! Thanks!”

So when you click on this link, you’ll know the suggestions are priest-approved.

Here’s a short preview …

1. Pray for Your Priest(s)

“The most important thing a parishioner can do for his/her priest is pray for them. We are always praying for someone, even required to offer a Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation on behalf of our parishioners. It’s just good to know that they pray for us everyday.”

“A rosary, a holy hour, a small offering or a daily suffering offered for the priest.”

“Send cards to priests with assurances of prayer for their intentions.”

“The offering of prayers for the priest and his ministry.  (It’s a great joy to know of prayers since I know that my life and ministry are only as fruitful as the people praying for me.)”

2. Cook Them a Meal, Especially on Their Busy Days

“It would be nice if someone made sure that the priest(s) of the parish had a nice cooked meal on Sundays and major holidays. We often have no cooks and after a long morning, it would be nice to come home to something we didn’t have to make.”

“Find out his favorite meal and make it for him.”

3. Celebrate Their Special Days

“Celebrating the priest’s birthday and ordination day are good thoughts, too.”

“It’s nice to be remembered on the day of my priestly ordination.”

4. Pray More, Complain Less

“The vast majority of interactions seem to revolve around a complaint about the priest, the parish, a parishioner, the music, the temperature in the church, a burned out lightbulb, a decision, etc. and rarely about the supernatural realities.”

5. Offer to Help

“Don’t wait to be asked! Priests are ordained to give, and it’s hard for us to ask for things.”

“Volunteer your time to the parish as a sign of support and service.”

“Consider increasing your tithe to show your support for the parish and priest.”

6. Go to Mass and/or Confession

“Nothing will make a priest happier.”

“Pick a day, go to a Mass that he’s celebrating, and get a bunch of people to sit in the front rows. When Father asks you after Mass why, tell him you were offering your participation at Mass in thanksgiving for his priesthood.”

… now go read the rest!



Categories:Liturgy Prayer Vocations

  • Deacon Giuseppe Pasquella

    I agree that priest should be treated well and with respect. Religious Sisters and Nuns and religious brothers and Monks should also be treated well…After so many years since Vatican II the unforgotten unappreciated ordained ministers that I still see that are neglected are the deacons. And remember they are not “Lay Deacons”, there are not two order of deacons, just one. Most deacons work full time jobs and have a family to take care of besides balancing their lives between family,work and Church. There are no burden on a parish and provide much needed service and aid free of change. In our diocese deacons must go to seminary and earn a Master’s Degree in Divinity of Pastoral Theology as part of their 6 years of formation. The Church does not pay for their college degree and their seminary tuition is at least in part paid for by the future deacon. Yes there are priests, and laity who do not appreciate the ministry of the Deacon. So remember Deacons are people also…too.

  • Fr. Gaurav

    Thank you! The deacon in the “Sons of Thunder” is now a priest, praise God, and one of my closest friends.

    • Kate O’Hare

      Wow! Pass on my congratulations! Deo Gratias.

  • Joyce Arnold

    I’m a practicing Catholic. I don’t think priests should be put on pedestals. Many of the priests I know are fine priests but they are constantly being adored and shown special recognition. I think they need to viewed as a real person not as super-humans. Nuns are not shown near the special attention. The nuns that I have been in contact with over my 65 years cook their own meals and do their own housekeeping. I have an aunt who was a nun that shared with me her day to day lifestyle that included little time for free time seven days a week with NO yearly vacations.

    Priests need to remain human and not put on a pedestal.

    There’s fewer and fewer priests. Priests have multiple parishes. Perhaps the pope should entertain the idea of letting priests be married. (It was in the news recently, that Pope Francis might consider talking about priests be married) This is long overdue.

    And wouldn’t it be nice to see women priests too? Women, by nature, are more nurturing than men. That’s what is needed from our priests, a nurturing atmosphere to grow in our faith.

    Thank you.

    • Kate O’Hare

      A “practicing Catholic” would know the Chuch has married priests, and women priests are an impossibility.

    • Allison

      Women cannot be ordained. End of story. Ordinatio Sacredotalis by Pope Saint John Paul II makes that clear.

      Besides, to say that women should be priests is a diss to women. How? Are our inferiority complexes so large that we need this to pacify us? There are gender roles in the Church and they are there for a reason and that reason isn’t oppression or to be archaic … it’s to follow the lead and teachings of Christ and the Church He founded on earth on the Rock of Peter.

      Celibate priesthood can change more readily since that’s just a discipline of the Latin Rite. Though Eastern Rite priests must be celibate to become bishops. I think the adage of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies here.

    • Margarett RBC Zavodny

      Sisters and nuns most often live in a community; diocesan priests do not. Many times a priest is pastoring alone in a parish, saying Mass, hearing Confession, marrying, burying, baptizing, taking appointments and making sick calls, as well as attending parish events, meetings, and required diocesan sessions from one end of the week to the other. In addition, they continue their education beyond the seminary and teach classes themselves. If I can do a little kindness by doing some housekeeping, laundry, cooking, or providing them with something they need or that will simply brighten their days, then I do it. I have been lucky enough to count as a friend a young priest in our diocese these past few years; he is the first priest who has ever called me a friend. More importantly, he is a representative of Christ here on earth, and has brought me closer to Christ. Do I put him on a pedestal? You bet I do!

    • Harry Smith

      Joyce, excellent points. I’ve no doubt that Priests and Nuns will eventually be allowed to marry and I look forward to female Priests, for the very reasons you mentioned. Thank-you for sharing.

    • Father Maurer

      Hi Joyce!

      Thanks for your care for priests & nuns. It’s heartening to be on the receiving end of concern. Thank you.

      Though the list is written about priests, it would serve equally well regarding nuns & sisters. I wonder what they might change or add for their particular needs (not always being in parish ministry), but the point is well taken: our nuns are a treasure of the Church!

      Fr. Maurer

  • ccmnxc

    That’s looks like a good resource, I’ll take a look. By-the-by, I happen to know one of the Sons of Thunder (Mark), and I would agree that that Church seems to be in quite good hands.



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