More thoughts on the road of priesthood community and being alone
One of the things that we have changed at St Mary is how we do marriage preparation. Married couples now work with the couples getting married.
I do the initial interview and I tell the couple about this new process. “We have changed how marriage preparation in done because what do priests know about marriage?” I then joking say, “Well I am not always sure what married people know about marriage.”
One of the struggles about being a priest is that you can spend the day baptizing a baby, doing a funeral and marrying a couple. At the end of day many priests go home to an empty rectory with no one to talk to.
One way to help with this is to create a home for priests. In many places there are 5 rectories within a few miles of each other with one, two or at most 3 priests in each one of the rectories.
One of the realities in the church is that every 3 or 4 years one of the priests in the rectory will move. If a rectory if lucky enough to have 2 priests living together than it becomes difficult to create a community life with this constant movement. If there is only two priests living in a rectory don’t know if the two priests are similar enough to want to spend time with each other. One priest might be an extreme introvert and another extreme extrovert.
In a time where money is tight we ought to rethink this structure. Just think about it each rectory has in most cases a full time cook and house cleaner.
Maybe an idea is to sell some of rectories and have 8 and 9 priests live in a single house. The argument against this is that it is better for the parish community if the priest live on the church grounds. I would have you ask yourself, “How important is it to have rectory on the parish grounds?”
If you had a house with 8 to 9 priests living together odds are that some of the priests would want to connect and live some type of community life.
I just asked this question to a family coming out of mass and they mentioned that the parishes that had the greatest community feel to it had rectories that were slightly away from the parish.
If more priests lived together there is a greater chance that they would encourage each other and pray with each other. Maybe they could help one another more.