Thanksgiving for being a priest.
This morning after Mass, I had to go to a local mall in order to run some errands. While looking for a shirt, a young woman approached and asked, "Fr. Barnes?" I recognized her (though not her name) as a parishioner. We chatted for a bit and she helped me. When I thanked her for her assistance, she said with a warm sincerity, "It is nice to be able to do something for you." I love being a priest.
"Did you say that you're Father Barnes," asked an older gentleman looking at some sweaters. Turns out that he is the pastor of a protestant congregation the next town over. We've known of each other for a long time, but have never met. So, we warmly shared a moment of Christian fraternity. I love being a priest.
I took my dog for a walk this afternoon and a car pulled over. In it was a young man from my parish who comes to daily Mass. His mother was visiting for Thanksgiving and he wanted to introduce us. I love being a priest.
Yesterday, I had lunch with several First Graders at our parish school. They were trying to outdo one another in "Who is the oldest person you ever met?" (105 seemed to be the winner). I love being a priest.
We have a lot of college students who come to our parish. I love being a priest.
We have a lot of college students who come to our parish for confession. I love being a priest.
One of our parishioners was ordained a deacon this year. I love being a priest.
We have three men in our parish who are studying for the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Boston. I love being a priest.
We have a young man from our parish who was ordained a few years ago for a religious order. I love being a priest.
We have a young man from our parish studying to become a Dominican Priest. I love being a priest.
Parishioners have been asking me which seminarians will be staying at our rectory over the Thanksgiving Break because the parishioners have a love for these men. I love being a priest.
A woman from my parish stopped by the rectory on Tuesday because she was on her way to bring the Eucharist to local nursing home residents. She said, "Father, I'm here for Bible Study on Mondays, bring Holy Communion on Tuesdays, and have adoration on Wednesdays." All of this after coming home from work. I love being a priest.
The other night I walked into our adoration chapel and ran into a young husband and father. He's an electrician and was just getting back to town after sitting in rush hour traffic. Before going home to his wife and children, he stopped in to say a few prayers. I love being a priest.
The other day, a cop called me just to see if I wanted to take our dogs for a walk. I love being a priest.
Thirty or so kids showed up for Youth Group the other night. I love being a priest.
I will be with a young couple who lost a baby this week. They told me how grateful they are to be part of such a caring parish and how certain parishioners have been such a tremendous support to them. I love being a priest.
People are dropping off food at the rectory and cooking for us. I love being a priest.
My staff and I pray the Angelus together every day at Noon. I love being a priest.
Through this blog and through other social media, I have a lot of great opportunities to discuss the Catholic Faith with believers and non-believers. I love being a priest.
Advent is coming and I will hear the confessions of all of our school children and a lot of our Religious Education students. I love being a priest.
On Sunday there will be a parade that passes by my rectory. Tons of people will stop by to say "hello". I love being a priest.
Every day I carry to the altar in my heart the intentions of so many people. Many of those intentions are known only to me. I love being a priest.
I have the privilege of preaching the Word and consecrating the Eucharist. I love being a priest.
I baptize infants and adults and am instrumental in their becoming members of the Body of Christ. I love being a priest.
I feed the Eucharist to the People of God. I love being a priest.
I am part of many families. I love being a priest.
I help people get married and help them stay married. I love being a priest.
I offer absolution to the sinner, consolation to the sorrowing, and hope to the despairing. I love being a priest.
I share in a beautiful fraternity of great priests. I love being a priest.
Thanksgiving provides an opportunity to give thanks. Today, I'm thankful not only to be a priest, but that I love being a priest.