Friday, March 02, 2007

It's Friday?

Well, it's been one of those weeks, only moreso.

I won't even try to give you a day-to-day. As has been usual lately, there are lots of "balls in the air" right now, and that is stressful, frankly. That said, I like the way a number of these projects are headed, so that's encouraging:

* A couple of parishioners and I went down to Dayton to meet with an expert in "development" -- meaning, involving people, stewardship and -- in that context, financial giving. We wanted to talk about a project I want to pursue; we decided, driving back, that some other things should happen first. So, a set back in a way; except the two gentlemen were not at all sorry for the outcome, they came away encouraged, and that encourages me. But it means a new project before the other project happens...

* Since the whole world has access to this, I will be cagey: there's a possibility for a business deal that would benefit the parish; only there's a deadline. Had a lot of conversations and meetings, all week, over it. At one point, a conversation with folks from the Archdiocese seemed to suggest we'd run out the clock before I could satisfy their concerns--and that meant alot of stress. Well, this is where an attorney is a great resource; a parishioner who has helped me on matters (just in passing, you cannot imagine how much help I get all the time from parishioners with all manner of expertise!), said he'd make a few calls. The sun came back out! Hurray! Now, there remains the business deal itself, which will likely come to fruition next week, for good or ill...

* Property redevelopment: one of the parishes owns a piece of property with a delapidated house. The house will not be renovated; it must come down. I was concerned that this would not be well received by the neighbor. A parishioner met with the neighbor, and all is soothed. We can proceed. Only now I have the project of demolition, and more importantly, determining what will be done with the space--parking or green space, or something of that sort. Not a huge project, but a project.

Now, all this is in addition to the usual stuff: phone calls with problems; discipline issues at school that come to my attention; a funeral; meetings; requests for meetings; not to mention the obvious things: prayer, Mass, personnel matters, etc.

This could sound merely like a tired complaint, but I hope not. Oh, there's a side of me that is more than happy to waste time doing next to nothing; maybe not you, but there is that lazy part of me. Instead, I have plenty of interesting and worthwhile things to work on, too many really, but a good chunk of that I can't blame on anyone but me: a lot of the projects I'm juggling were my idea! As it is, with all I'm doing, I've started a couple of new ones lately.

I do hope this paints a realistic picture. Perhaps you can see how a pastor can be so "worldly"--he has so many "worldly" concerns to deal with. I wonder if its really true that some people are surprised by this. (If that's you, post anonymously and tell me so, please.) Perhaps you can see how a pastor can be seduced into being rather worldly--I don't mean in his taste for nice things, that's different. (That is often readily offered by others.) I mean that sometimes priests seem to be too much about money, business, real estate, and not about spirituality. Well, it's understandable.

This is why I pay attention to liturgical matters, and why I have a weekly Bible study. And, of course, it's why it's important to be prayerful.

Someone also might think all this is "too worldly." Well, except that we don't have to divide reality that way. There is one reality, and it includes both the spiritual and the temporal. A good, Catholic spirituality seeks and discovers God in the world, and sees how these "worldly" matters relate to the kingdom.

And there's the fact that a huge part of being a pastor--or, really, being a human being--is all about relationships. In all these matters, there are human interactions. Are they positive? Is Christ in them? Is the Holy Spirit at work in them? One of the things many pastors will tell you is that a lot of folks come to faith, not through a mission, or a book, or a video, or a homily, but mainly through the development of these relationships that lead them to see themselves as part of the Catholic Church. Sometimes its sudden, but often it's gradual.

Anyway, it's overwhelmingly a mystery. So you plug away, and figure God's pretty creative--after all, look what he uses to make flowers grow!

1 comment:

Phil B. said...


Your discussion sounds all too familiar to me as I work with financial issues for parishes and schools in our Archdiocese. I also understand your frustration at the pull between finance and spiritual things.... but you also seem to understand that a pastor can't focus on one to exclusion of the other.... bless you for that. If you'd ever like any informal counsel on how to deal with finance we do just that all the time here at m work. Drop me a line at or leave a comment at