When young people ask me about the priestly life, one of my stock responses is to say that in 23 years of priesthood I have had many joys and sorrows but that I do not remember ever having had a boring day. Today is a good example.
Tired from the Oxford LMS Conference, I got up a little later than usual but still with time for a meditation and a some spiritual reading; and then went down to prepare for Mass which on Saturday is in the usus antiquior. After exposition, confessions and Benediction, I gave a brief refresher on the Latin responses to my young server who needed to brush up after the summer holidays. His companion has broken his foot while on holiday so I have to catch him and tell him that he can still serve.
Then on to a family to talk about a loved one who had died, and reassure them that he would always be remembered in the prayers of the parish. The funeral is to be a simple Liturgy of the Word at the Crematorium, followed by the Committal - this is common in England - but I always include such deceased in the Memento of the Dead.
Back at the Presbytery, the newsletter I have to finalise is the first of the new scholastic term, advertising the RCIA, various extra Masses during the week (Monday early because I am teaching at Parkminster), and the leaflets to request anniversary Masses for 2008.
Once all these things are printed out, the early evening sees confessions and then the anticipated Sunday Mass, followed by the booking of a Baptism for a Nigerian family who have come here because they have heard that they will be welcomed. This is something of a highlight for me: I always try to ensure that African Catholics feel at home in the parish because I know that they are in more of a minority than some parishes I have served in.
When those duties are finished, I drive over to an 18th birthday party for one of my parishioners and spend a little time with family and friends. Back at the parish I call into the Parish Club for a pint of beer (Novus Ordo Eurofizz) and a chat with the men there before returning to have a look at John Allen's latest comments ...
If you feel that God is calling you to the priesthood, there may be various siren voices calling you away. Never believe any that say that it is boring.