Everyone pretty much knows this is a busy time of year for priests; many may not know it's also very busy for a lot of other people who are involved with parishes, or why:
> Of course, the obvious: Lent involves more activity, with more times of prayer to organize and lead, such as stations of the cross.
> Activities connected to the final preparation of those to be baptized, confirmed and to receive their first Eucharist at the Easter Vigil, including a retreat (today), which I won't make it over to, but our Vicar will.
> Many confessions with penance services here and there, and confessions for schoolchildren (for our grades 2-8, three priests needed about 5 hours over two successive Thursdays. We do this every other month. I wish we could do it every month, but this is very difficult to do).
> Preparing and planning the special liturgies for Holy Week, including rehearsals for servers and others, lining up help--many servers travel, so they aren't available--and making sure all supplies are stocked up ("where are the candles for the Vigil?").
> The music director and choirs have a LOT of work, first in preparing, then in executing, a lot of music that takes work to make beautiful.
> The staff has lots of work getting stuff together for all this.
> Meanwhile, there are things like Fish Fries; St. Mary Parish is having a pancake breakfast tomorrow with a Ministry Fair (rescheduled from last Sunday).
> As the school year winds down, it's necessary to prepare a budget for the coming year, and adopt it, which determines tuition costs--and it's necessary to get financial aid forms ready for parents...all this has to be coordinated and prepared and made available.
> The school budget can't be adopted without reference to the parish budget, since the parish subsidizes the school, and I have to know how much the two parishes can afford to give the school. Thankfully I don't have to prepare the school budget--but I do have to get the school and parish finance councils all together.
> And, like a crazy man, I have still other projects I'm working on: starting up a Stewardship Commission, recruiting more for a prolife committee, several fundraising projects for one parish, a dinner for area priests on Holy Thursday, a dinner in May for area, non-Catholic clergy, and Corpus Christi Weekend with 40 Hours and a Procession (This will actually take place May 16-18, a week prior, due to Memorial Day).
Oh, and all the usual business and activity of the parish, and all the usual forms of ministry, continue.
I'm not complaining, lots of people are working hard, including the parish staff and many volunteers. But yes, I am tired. Right now, I'm "busy" sitting here watching a bit of basketball, and in a moment I'll get something for lunch. I don't mind being busy, but I do need to take a pause this afternoon, because tomorrow will involve a lot of activity, not just Masses, but the Ministry Fair, and checking in with the confirmation group, where I'll interview those preparing, and then I'll visit with the high school youth group after that.
But you know what? As indicated, I do keep starting projects. It would be easier to let things go along on auto-pilot, do the minimum, but not very fulfilling.
Oh, and today at 8 am, we had Mass for St. Joseph--not much music (since there was no way I was making our music director come out for this, he's working very hard), but we did chant a number of the prayers; I still did incense, so it was silent, but is that bad? Then at 9 am, confession at the other parish--I backed up the vicar as he heard confessions, then did some things to get St. Boniface ready for the weekend; then breakfast, then quickly wrote a short homily for Sunday (my Palm Sunday homily tends to be about the same every year), then two baptisms (I love making new saints!) back at St. Mary, then got a few things ready here for Palm Sunday, then back here for a bit of lunch, do some laundry, then back for more confessions, then check in with the Knights tonight for their St. Patrick's Day Party.