Q. What is a typical day like in the life of a priest?
A. I’m not sure there is such a thing as a “typical day” as everyday is a little bit different. For me, I usually get up early (5:30 am) and begin with my morning offering – giving my day to the Lord and Mary. Then I take some time for some exercise (got to stay fit). Then I get cleaned up and, afterwards, check emails, have a quick look on the Internet, Facebook, music blogs, etc. Over breakfast, I do a bit of spiritual reading. I then walk over to the Church and spend some time in the chapel. All priests pray the Liturgy of the Hours, which is basically all 150 Psalms divided up over a 4-week rotation. I then spend some time reflecting on the readings for the day to prepare a short homily and get ready for Mass. For a priest, the Mass is the centre of the day – it is the most important thing I will ever do as a priest. In fact, without the Mass, the priesthood does not make much sense to me!
After Mass I usually have different pastoral duties to attend to – I may go to one of the schools for a liturgy, hear confessions, do hospital visits, etc. In the afternoons, I usually spend time preparing homilies and talks, meet with people and take more time for prayer. In the evenings, there are meetings to attend – for instance, helping prepare children to receive the sacraments or couples for marriage – or I will go to someone’s home for dinner. Sometimes I am free for the evening and take time to watch a movie, read, listen to music, or whatever. Just prior to going to sleep, I will say some final prayers, examine my conscience and ask God for a restful night so as to do it all again tomorrow!
It’s a very real life – there are some fantastic days, when you feel the energy running through the parish from a homily you’ve given or have been able to really help someone in confession, etc. But there are also some very tough days, like when you have a funeral for someone who’s died tragically or meet with someone whose marriage is falling part. Yet even at these times, when God pushes me to face the difficult moments, He always gives me the grace to confront whatever lies ahead. The priesthood is filled with so many joys and sorrows, but there’s no other life like it, and I would not trade it for anything!
Fr. Nathan Offering the Holy Mass in the Church of Dominus Flevit, Jerusalem