You are on page 1of 7

reaching out to others, than to give time to

HOW TO BE A HAPPY PRIEST temptation against what is my greatest joy:
preaching the Word of God, offering the divine
I have been an ordained Roman Catholic priest Liturgy, administering the Sacraments,
for more than 50 years. I can tell you, and teaching youth the Way, the Truth, the Life.
many who know me will tell you, that I am a
happy priest. The reason I am happy is because 1. A Priest is not a Priest for himself
I feel fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Although now in I realize that a priest’s life centered on God
the practice of Christ’s holy priesthood for over must still involve God’s people, for the very
50 years, I still look for more opportunities nature of priestly powers and duties is to act in
each day to reach out to others for the good of the person of Christ, the head of the Mystical
their souls and for the glory of God. Recently, I Body. The Catholic priest not only represents
talked to a priest who was ordained less than a Christ but acts in persona Christi in offering
year. When I asked him, “Are you happy as a the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and
priest?” he faltered for words. He was not administering the Sacraments. Jesus Christ also
ready to give an unqualified answer. He said, acts through the priest when he reads the
“There is so much tension and disobedience Scriptures in church and teaches the Word of
out there, and it is so difficult to be a priest God as pointed out by the Second Vatican
today.” This young priest later spent Council. Jesus Christ is Truth. He is the Way,
considerable time with me. It was obvious that the Truth, and the Life. The priest
he wanted always to be a good priest. Still, he commissioned to teach the Word of God must
feared, with the stories he heard of failures always preach and teach the Truth. Never
among some priests, that he might be tempted should he compromise the Truth of faith and
and fail to live his vows. I reminded this young morals. If he attempts to do so, he is
priest that we are promised by God’s Word that compromising Jesus Christ. The priest should
we will never be tempted beyond our strength. preach the Truth in season and out of season.
The extraordinary graces of the Sacraments are He should preach the full Gospel, the fullness
there and they are there for each of us daily. I of truth; whether at a particular time and place
told him to phone me if ever temptations it is popular or unpopular to do so. If in
against his commitment for life in Christ’s holy preaching the truth a priest becomes
priesthood assails him in the future. A priest is controversial, he should be grateful for Jesus
a priest forever. Recently I found in my notes, Christ was a man of contradiction to the world,
yellowed with age, written down either as a to the world’s way of thinking and acting.
seminarian or as a young priest the following Preaching is not to entertain, but to give
thought: “Celibacy in the priesthood while at knowledge of Jesus Christ so souls can be
times may find one feeling lonely, that formed in Christ’s love. Don’t try to compete
loneliness is designed to cause a vacuum which with the world in entertaining. It is contrary to
for the priest can only be filled with love for the priest’s vocation and you will always lose.
Jesus Christ and the people of His holy
Church.” I can honestly say that in my years as 2. A Priest should be a sign of contradiction
a priest I have never been lonely for very long. When the Christ Child was presented in the
Yes, there have been lonely moments. And temple, Simeon inspired by the Holy Spirit,
those lonely moments were times to renew my took Him up in his arms and blessed God and
commitment and vows. Rather than loneliness, said to Mary His mother, “Behold this Child is
there have been more times when I longed to set... for a sign that is spoken against, and a
be alone for a while. I wanted to be alone so as sword will pierce through your own soul also.”
to be alone with God so that my life might be (Luke 2:25-36). Interestingly that whereas
centered on God alone. I wanted to be alone at Luke tells us that His father and His mother
times so as to be more fruitful in preparing marveled at what was said about Him, the
articles, books, sermons, classes, and lectures. I above quoted words were directed not to both
can say I’ve never been seriously tempted to St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mother but
break any priestly vows. I’ve been too only “to Mary His mother.” Those called to the
occupied with the practice of the priesthood, priesthood of Jesus Christ are called not only to


there are those who slap such Mother Mary. Not only is he criticized when during the early years of my priesthood. One who will dwindle. but never John A. He will endanger who should be working with you. The confusion that promised a hundredfold to those who leave all came about both during and after Vatican things. persecution besides. that priest souls full time. priest. hear. usually Pope John XXIII called the Ecumenical not visible to the priest in his blindness. even family members. 5:10). Yes. but to be holy. documents of the Second Vatican Council will find nothing disharmonious with the first two Might as well be criticized for teaching truth thousand years of the teachings of Jesus Christ Seminarians and young priests. If a the fullness of all He promised: “and theologian. Teach Vatican Council II correctly salvation. It criticism for the Truth who is Jesus Christ. If you give your hiding or weakening the demands of Christ to whole heart to Jesus in work and concern for carry one’s cross daily. who was theological compromise by your silence or watered-down 2 . one who entertains. the problems true priest. In reality behind the scenes. even persecuted. There is nothing to be criticized when you live and teach as you disharmonious in the Second Vatican Council should in the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus a contradiction to the world. If a priest thinks it will make him laity who do not want to hear the truth.. The true persecuted for righteousness’ sake. enthusiastic then for what the Council stood he will notice the numbers practicing the faith for. I remain enthusiastic for it now. you will of the Church today would be much greater if be contradicted. Not tension and unhappiness to the priest himself only will you be criticized. one The abuses that disturbed many are not to be who speaks what people in general want to found authorized in any Vatican II documents. Father “Pray for those who persecute you”. does not contradict what went before. He will recognize no fruit from has actually read prayerfully and studied the his labors. if he is observant. by priests and fellow religious. If you seek to there had been no Second Vatican Council. the truth is. If you carry out founded. But She will protect you. for his life will lose it. for theirs is teachings of Christ’s Church have always been the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. Hardon.J. Watering down the content of the faith forever sealed on his soul. You will not Most of the years I’ve worked to faithfully live be fulfilling the mission for which you were Christ’s holy priesthood have been years beset ordained.” “If any man would come how can they guide and inspire the faithful to after Me. once said to me that given the your mission as not simply a good man but as a conditions of the modern world. to be a sign of adviser to an Apostolate for the Family I contradiction to the world. “Blessed are those who are with struggles and contradictions. I was he does not teach the truth. priests on the back if the priest attempts to offer cheap bargains on an easy way to 3. Seminarians and and morals of Catholicism will bring much young priests should get ready for this. let him deny himself and take up his remain faithful or grow in the faith? They are cross and follow Me. but don’t miss that they were no longer faithful. S. how much more to the priest who has the consistently lives and teaches the fullness of indelible character of Christ the High Priest truth. The happiness in time and in eternity accept development of Catholic doctrine builds. If such words of Jesus Christ apply to will be happy in the priesthood is if he all. you will not be a holy priest. only decay. and whoever loses his life souls to weaken in the faith or even to lose for my sake and the gospels will save it” (Mark their faith altogether. and follow and Council II disturbed many of the faithful so serve Him in His holy Church. You will his place in eternity for he is not living out the then be a special priest-son of Mary and your mission Jesus Christ gave him when he was heart will be pierced at times. For with the other 20 Ecumenical Councils. The only way a priest 8:34).be good. he is Council known as the Second Vatican Council criticized much. For whoever would save then rather the cause. you are going and His Church. in too many cases. you will be a threat to many will be miserable in this life. as was our ordained. be a popular priest. or religious is not faithful. Yes. but you popular or liked by making the demands of the will receive such treatment even from some Gospel and of the Church easier for people. you will be spoken against. even persecuted by and to others.

Priests river of people filing before the Pope because must stand up for the Truth. bear a burden which transcended merely And he was happy. They are preaching the world. On Wednesday. They applauded to Rome. They must be he with his testimony has awakened our faith willing to be persecuted for living an authentic and therefore our community. you will still be criticized. By the way. Better to be living a priestly and Christ-like life. Major television networks occupied whenever Pope John Paul II spoke tough love. he crowds of years as Pontiff. He will be 3 . Millions came to his teenagers and young adults would applaud funeral. His true faith and concelebrated a Mass with other bishops for morals. now Benedict XVI. Every priest and seminarian is churches that have become very liberal in their aware that the respect and honor shown Pope doctrines see their membership falling rapidly John Paul II would not have developed over his in numbers? Why? The answer should be twenty. including world leaders. which is Jesus Christ. not and with trembling hand from Parkinson’s. Peter’s. still Christ Crucified. the people will do likewise. to stand up heads of state came from 138 nations. if you don’t speak for unhappy as a priest because he then is not Christ. as did human abilities: that of being the shepherd of his prayerfulness and holiness as he met Christ’s flock. life must be “rooted in Christ. and who compromises true spoke volumes of his commitment. broken bones and various phrase meaning “Sainthood at once. to criticized for being Godly than being worldly.” Yet. 2005) came to greet him. face distorted with pain. If priests refuse to live the waited in line two or more miles long. of millions followed the funeral worldwide via They applauded him when he spoke against the television and radio.teachings. if he had not obvious. It radiated from him. It was truth. and forgotten the the funeral Mass said. Is there not a message in all this official funeral Archbishop Angelo Comastri. Crowds in he happy? Amidst multiple afflictions from the square chanted “Santo subito. for seminarians and priests? “ Be not afraid” to vicar for Vatican City State. There can be no happiness in attempting rapidly while communities among the mainline to live a lie. His pain and efforts entertainments. three days radiated happiness. This short essay was being young people by the hundreds of thousands written at the time of the death (April 2. People for Truth and live it. The center of use the Sacrament of Confession frequently. People were They applauded him when he stood up for asked through the media to discontinue coming purity and holy marriages. Hundreds whenever he spoke for human life and dignity. The public. II’s last silent homily. is not one whose life is rooted in Christ.” Cardinal illnesses.” a Latin gun shot wounds. They are not being fed solid meat. He is rather as a wolf scattering the fundamentalist communities are growing flock. said it well as he proclaim Christ Jesus. In fact. he was able to consistent in his teachings until the very end. When their ministers or priests are attempting to Pope John Paul II became an old man with entertain them and make them feel good about stooped shoulders. They listened to his and funeral (April 8) of Pope John Paul II the messages packed with proclamations of true Great. Preach the full Gospel. most of their time for a week reporting on this They applauded when he encouraged them to Pope so admired by the world.” Dignitaries as well as regardless of their vocation in life. His universal Church. and do so openly and without the repose of the Pope’s soul: “Today we see a reservation. Three days before the drug culture. his before his death. This is John Paul priestly life.” The priest. Why is it that conservative forward. in the homily at forgotten God in many ways. Who carried estimated that more than four million people greater burdens than Pope John Paul II? Was filed past his remains in St. put it bluntly. These large crowds of spoke of his greatness. “Thanks to his being meaning of commitment. He was teachings on Catholic faith and morals. For a priest to be happy. who weak. and tried to engages in worldly activities and speak and bless the people. not able to walk unaided themselves. been a man who was fearless in proclaiming Their people are starving for substance while publicly the Truth. faith and morals. he is attempting to live a lie. to be loyal and profoundly rooted in Christ. Happy priests learn this early in their Such a priest is not leading the faithful priesthood. They must challenge all others. Rome had to be closed to traffic. he taught a world which had Ratzinger. There was no more space. he appeared at his window.

Only Priests true to the Teacher can be not have many holy families. Why should today. Thus has been a confusion of roles in the family. unhealthy number of priests speak. many priests turned in it. Too to worldly vocations. as it both their priests and their parents. The priest will be TALK AND WRITING THAT WENT ON happy only if he lives the priesthood as a FOR YEARS? The effects are still heavily with divine vocation.? The average layperson works head. their salary should compare with doctors. “A priest should work until he drops. This is why there is the crisis of family the priest be always available? Should he not life today. “She wears the pants in that home. They was my understanding as I studied in the often lack an understanding of the very basics seminary and was ordained. I was still a relatively young not usurp the father’s role. fell back into his chair? This is authentic parents also have not been taught and formed love. It of the family. Did not Pope John of Catholicism. the reason is because more to the priesthood? The list goes on. The wife. How will we get the Remedy those holy families? Parents seldom if ever Who is going to do that teaching and give that hear from the pulpit of the right structure and guidance for Catholic people? It must be the functioning of the family as God created it and priests. Priests are not teaching true family values The Church cannot have holy priests if it does 5. At the same time I heard an must be the father as God intended. Decades ago. The wife.” That They lack direction. intended it. write and St. Wives rule in the vast majority of homes thirty-five to forty hours a week. Often their were. is the heart was not converted because priests missed the of the family.” hours. and not as just another job. it was said of women who dominated in evenings free? They too should have office the home. Rather than seizing the authority and must be Christ-like in exercising moment to evangelize. An elderly. Many barrels of ink were many women influenced by the feminists have used to try to convince priests and others that confused their roles and usurped the father’s the priesthood should be compared to other role regarding the children. from their work. us. Those men also have been deeply Here are some of the things they circulated: affected by the women’s lib movement. The feminist worldly jobs or secular professions. and their role of 4 . The mother has primacy in love. They compared themselves husband. She should on themselves. etc. they are not living their God-given vocations in WHERE WAS JESUS CHRIST IN ALL THIS the manner God intends. This country following: The man. is the head could have been converted to Catholicism. the husband. I worked to study and follow what teaching it? The chief disciplinarian of children Vatican II said. correctly and know not how to teach and form their children. Many a husband has relinquished his role as lawyers. And what they lack is often for Paul II give us that lesson when those few days two reasons. After the Second Vatican Council. Should not a priest have a many women who have given up much of their home away from the Church and his office? God-intended femininity. to Lay professionals retire at sixty-five. They lack guidance. Paul reminds us. some at the very end. movement has made wimps of many men who thus step back and let their wives dominate in 6. True faith has not been taught and before his death he stood at the papal window true faith has not been lived consistently by struggling to speak and to bless and then. the mother. Other professionals have homes away It was not intended as a compliment. The man has primacy in Catholic moment. Much unhappiness today Christ never forbids priests to marry. Should There is much unhappiness among people not priests be permitted to marry so as to attract today. But are priests priest then. Today. relax and enjoy his senior years? Jesus 4.teaching loyalty to Christ and His Church. when I was a young have working hours like others and have his man. 7. She is not the head of the home. Life of selfish complaints the home. is to be submissive to her act like crybabies. There Priests have many years of education. Should not the priest be able to retire. holy priest years ago said to me: Many youth today are confused and not happy. Why? In short. fifty-five. Many priests today fear to teach the there was the Catholic moment.

due primarily to today. with which many come listened to the talk. Only then will they experience true priest’s responsibility to get them to understand fulfillment in their priestly lives. fail to and heart in daily living at home. There is a growing the horrible failures of so many marriages movement to return to the veil. even attend daily Mass. but in into practice. not only attempt to rule the home. Any successful in our best? A young man who had come into person will tell you that if success were easy. fact do wear pants as they have given up feminine dresses and embraced the styles of the 9. It would add head of the home and disciplinarian of the much to reverence in church if women heard family. critically important. are circulating at present. rule their husbands and children. It is the matters. because 5 . A test whether you fear to teach modern secular liberated society.” Many priests. Paul rather than the worldly feminist who taking on masculine roles as demonstrated by contributed heavily to the destruction of the the way they act and dress. Parents who have even immodest dress. please check you fear to preach what St. out of fear. As an editor and former columnist. God and Savior. which Mass attendance and the loss of faith among the Author of nature intended. “I came to everyone would be successful. there will still educate the people on such matters. has become masculine. Priests fail to preach on root causes not have allowed them to challenge the Church Unfortunately few priests and bishops preach and win out as they did. For those you fear to preach 1st Cor. even immodest dress. Yet the but if the husband and wife do not each priests said nothing about this to instruct the exercise their proper God-given role as head people. Many in the Church on the root causes of family crises. in sloppy dress. family. It will the Mass as perpetuating Christ’s own sacrifice definitely be hard for both priest and couple. Why. and the Sacrifice of world and follow Godly principles. do I have the courage to write on of a veil as a sign of submission as taught in and preach Ephesians 5:21-33? Also. Where has the what many priests fear to preach on. He must conquer his fear to tell women the priest preach the Word of God according to they are usurping the role of their husbands and St. 11:1-16? Would who think this inconsequential. many “Catholics” in the REAL while important. Their dress A good test to see where you stand in all this. Praying in itself. would the Bible by the Apostle. it will not do it for them. The subject matter is common in warmer weather. to help the couple fight the our Lord. Rather they viewed the veil as just a into the deep and face honestly what is causing custom that was outdated. brought to realize that they can pray the Rosary But when I went to Sunday Mass I saw many devotedly each day. Good Thousands of the audio cassettes with that title Catholics write about the poor taste in dress. It is not did not fully understand the psychological popular to do so. write or call to say how it to Mass on Sundays. Shorts and T-shirts seem has helped their family. I once gave a talk. they would 8. Paul said about the divorce rate. still receive many communications. The priest must conquer his fear in young women wanting to be faithful to telling men they are failing in their roles as Scripture and Church Tradition. It would be an opportunity for priests do it perfectly. and why we should come modestly dressed and but the rewards are eternal. Is there any for all members of the family. It takes courage to launch out effect. They are be a family crisis. women wearing the veil? Had our good priests understood the femininist agenda. the tradition gone to wear our “Sunday best” when response of mothers and fathers has been coming to the holy Sacrifice of the Mass? How positive. That is where the priest is to speak on the Real Presence of Jesus Christ. St. There will be unhappiness failing in their priestly duties.submission. I The Root Causes of Family Problems. They loath the wearing ask yourself. Prayer PRESENCE????? The priests have to be the will aid the couple in fulfilling their God-given ones who educate their people on these natural role. this and then aid them in their efforts to put it that is. Most people want to know the truth. Grace builds on wonder surveys indicate a drastic decline in nature. will not accomplish it. Each parent must fulfill the role. Parents must be realize the fullness of true faith in Catholicism. Yet. the Church recently said to me. Paul. many priests fear to even mention these even if at the moment they might not be able to subjects.

It is A priest will be happy when he truly highly unlikely that a priest who watches TV understands whom he represents. The priest will be happy when a never accepted such encouragements but have young man expresses interest in the holy listened to higher Church authority. Many priests today ignore such because of his own example. On the very day I was writing this part priest. Your example remains steady. Happiness in fulfillment would think of Jesus Christ if that priest were The priest will find happiness when he lives for living a true priestly life. The priest will attire. whether about personal purity or the when the Pope died this past week. which says priesthood because he has been touched by the priests should be identified by their clerical holiness he reflects as a priest. one by one. I’m forever grateful for your encouragement and the fostering of my 12. He will the Roman collar as a sign of Christ for find happiness in seeing the people God mankind today. I fear that many priests are more 11. of a saint who was told by our Lord that people meeting a priest on the street or elsewhere 13. When I was for hours each week will ever develop the still in seminary I remember reading in the life wisdom to aid the faithful. impression that one church was as good as another. without ever being taught about one of my former parishes. A Priest must never hide his identity interested in TV than Church teachings. Priests to be judged on what they have vocation. even young Today also as I write I heard from a family of adulthood. Priests should wear love of Jesus Christ and His Church. He will be happy exhortations. Thank you for being a priest of Jesus control. as well as of the pamphlet a priest of 16 years wrote me everyone else who sees it. We really serious sin of fornication. Young people have informed me that they have reached teen-age. As I was writing consecrated nature by not dressing as priests?” this pamphlet my former bishop for more than I now live in the so-called “Bible Belt” of the eighteen years phoned me to tell me he would United States after living in the North as a be delighted to concelebrate with me on the priest for 48½ years. Unfortunately some bishops when he fully surrenders his life to Jesus by encourage their priests to come to priestly teaching in harmony with the Gospel and the gatherings dressed informally.” When my mother laid dying. You are 6 . but what they failed to teach. based on the laws of “I love all my children but especially you God. priests are contributing to share here a few of many examples that have the erasing of all signs of God and hiding their made me happy as a priest. she that when they attended pre-marital classes named all eight of her children from the oldest before their wedding nothing was said about to youngest. Many young miss you. who I am: a priest of saying: “The Lord has been so good in you and God’s holy Church. In the couple of years I’ve anniversary of my 50th year in the priesthood. Wish you could come back. I’m not taught one of the hundreds of young priests who Priests will be judged by God not only on what credit you for assisting or fostering a priestly they preached. People want to see priests as entrusted to him come closer to Jesus Christ men of God. and if had little doctrine or morals and even gave the the fruit is rotten we can never be happy. I can put into practice what you gave teachings which condemn artificial birth me. I society such as ours. Married couples have informed me Christ. Then she said to me: the Church’s teachings. “I thought of you purity. been here. I’ve seen and experienced only He had come to see me in recent months and respect and friendly greetings and smiles as I spoke to others of my great love for the Mother am always identified in public places as a of God. A bishop in Spain recently asked all his be happy when he reaches out to children to priests in a letter: “Why is it that in a secular teach them and to parents to motivate them.” sinful. My collar reminds me. I must say I’ve Magisterium.that is the way God made us. We were Catholics have said that their religion classes designed by God to produce good fruit. vocation. through you. that artificial birth control is seriously because you are a servant of Jesus Christ. I hope that throughout my years of I’ve heard from good lay people that they have aiding young people in discerning their never heard a sermon on the Church’s vocation.

could end and rather rapidly. be happy. Today success is in the minority. Had I not the priesthood.” A good priest should be a “People’s Priest” . We must study Jesus Christ and His Church. the crisis the family often with strong words of our prayers each day. Pope John Paul II was called a down.” The above few challenges of his people. The Church is rooted in Jesus Christ and Conclusion the family It is important for seminarians and young The Church is profoundly rooted in the family. mother. The priest. They come from people I challenged crisis the Church faces. he will draw others to a deeper in harmony with God’s laws and the Church’s appreciation of Christ’s true presence in the teachings. Sometimes we do not know for priest and religious. the others.. Unfortunately and learn from authors who are faithful to the I’ve heard of some priests too engaged in teachings of Holy Mother Church. he must teach the 15.. People who sacrifice are important to a healthy Christian are successful do not live like those who are family and to each priest. “By your cross and follow me . 3.scribd. always remembering the phrase. if he is to assist individuals and families in being happy. A priest whose – that priest will be happy. if you don’t lift your each day and from which there is never a people up they will most certainly pull you who is concerned about www. Not only will he be husband and wife to the solution. Remember who can help them but make certain those their fruits are a good indicator as to whether to people will also act and teach in harmony with take them seriously or not. for they will have positive fruits of his labor contribute experienced Christ through the actions of His tremendously to the happiness of a priest. we must be open to those who hold true father would their needs and knows the problems and Happy-Priest-Free-pamphlet 7 . I could never have been happy. “I know examples bring happiness to a priest. sister. Simple is it not? You can taught what the Church requires and caused dispense with all the entertainment. he should send people to those to question and listen and analyze. and this calling. 2. Jesus said. He must practice failures.” If our priests would come from people whom I never favored above all act and teach as real Catholic priests. hears of a husband or wife having problems in conscious that he is perpetuating Christ’s their marriage and immediately suggests that Sacrifice of the Cross and effecting the Real an annulment is possible. 4. The and they will stay. The priest therefore must act as a problems. The Catholic strongly for love of souls and family life. We must learn competence.. father. If a problem is out of his positions that differ to our own. which is his. The priest must have a solid you will have to help people be different in a Priestly Spiritual Program which he practices positive way. Remember. He will not find happiness in the Eucharist.” Penance and their fruits you will know them”. or not taught what God wanted them experience Holy Mass celebrated by a of families and caused families to suffer and holy and believing priest. rather than working Presence of our Lord. The priest who must be reflected in the demeanor by which he reaches out to help others in need and preaches offers the greatest work on earth. Church is the Church of the Eucharist and the which is what parents and children need to hear priesthood is for the Eucharist. concerning faith and morals.. To counter the first two brother.. just let souls to leave. “Unless you take up people. 14. This is the greatest advertisement for priesthood because he is not living it. and they will come break up. “People’s Pope. will be happy as this is to understand the root cause and direct the his chief mission in life. They mine and mine know Me. The Eucharist fullness of faith regarding the above matters One’s entire priesthood is orientated to our mentioned in this pamphlet and all those Eucharistic Lord. and you will never be a happy priest. is not acting happy. that we don’t know. We should things of the world rather than in a life of also read material put out by faithful lay sacrifice and penance. so what he preaches.You cannot teach what It has long used the terminology of the family you don’t know.. If a priest is to faces. who faith is daily active in offering holy Mass. holy priest. priests to remember: 1.