What do you do all day as a priest?

Chas asks:

Dear Fr Anthony,

I’m a fifteen year old and I feel that I am being called into the priesthood. I have felt a strong calling at the Franciscan University conferences these past two years and have gone down to get a blessing with all the other young men who feel they may be being called. My question is what do you do all day as a priest. I think it’d be the coolest thing to be so I was just wondering what you do all day. Thank you.

Dear Chas,

There are lots of different things a priest does, and they depend to a great degree on the type of priest he is (if he is a pastor, a teacher, a contemplative, etc.). Personally, I have hardly two days the same, but there are certain things that never change. The Sacrifice of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, personal prayer. You build your day as a priest around these, and they are the source of everything in your life.

Most priests will do a fair amount of preaching (homilies, sometimes retreats, RCIA classes, etc), and so you have to read, study and prepare what you will give. A priest in a parish will celebrate other sacraments frequently: Baptisms, Marriages, Confessions, and may have a school in the parish he is responsible for. He will have the administration to take care of as well. He will be on call for whoever needs him.

There are priests who do specialized ministry (college, high-school and hospital chaplains, for example) with their own set of daily duties and undertakings. Some priests teach. Some are contemplative monks and spend their days in manual or intellectual labor, and prayer. Mostly the days are not long enough for all you want to do and all that needs to be done. People come to the priest for advice, a word of consolation and support, the answer to a doubt or question, to unburden their consciences, etc., and you need to be there always for them. More than anything you have to be ready to scrap your own plans to help the person who is right there in front of you. All of that comes from the love of Christ in your soul, and your desire to use your life in the best way possible to serve him in others.

Priests, of course, have their breaks and vacations too. But even at those times the center of your day is still the Mass, and you have more time and are more relaxed to pray the Liturgy of the Hours well, and to devote a little extra time to personal prayer.

God Bless,

Fr. Anthony Signature