More reflections on the road of priesthood community and being alone.
Would it be interesting if you could attend your own funeral? In a funny way every time I leave a parish I feel I am at my own funeral. Even the way people talk about you is like how they talk at a funeral.
People come up to you and say, “wasn’t father Stefan such a nice guy? Than something like, “do you remember when he did our sons wedding?”
As they come up and shake your hand they say, “how much they will miss you and how they will visit.” After these nice words they than ask, “ok father just wondering who will replace you?”
One of the things that priests often say is that when they leave a parish they will never go back to that parish. They usually put it in pious words such as, “the bishop has sent me to a new parish to serve.” This statement by the bishop is true but it does speak to an issue about community.
If the parish is meant to be a priest primary community than how could be say that he will never go back to see people he served for 5, 10 some times 25, 30 years.
I think one of the reasons that many priests say that they will not go back to their old parish and reconnect is because they remember all the times that people in their old parish said that they would come up and visit and did not.
Again most married couples lives resolve around their children. Priests are also seen a single person who come to others. Think of it this way, if you are married don’t you assume that the single person will come to your house for dinner?
I think there are many reason why this dynamic exists. I touched on some of the reasons in my first blog. A priest is part of other people lives, but it is harder for other people to be a part of the priest’s life.
In the many parish that I have been at I have often wonder how can I try so hard to be a part of other people lives. When I leave a parish, I often find myself starting again at each parish.
I think many priests have had this experience and that is one of the main reasons they say that they will never go back to a parish that they have previously served at.
This stems from the fact that a priest primary community is meant to be other priests. A priest is meant to have many lay friends, but this is a secondary community. It speaks to a deeper issue priests need priests. A priest primary community is meant to be other priests.
More thoughts on the road of community priesthood and figuring it out