Some recent commenters have suggested I must not be busy about parish business because I've offered teaching and comments on the true nature of marriage here in recent days.
Well, anything is possible, and a parish priest's work is never done; but here are some things I've been busy about lately, for those who enjoy an insight into the life of a parish priest...
> With others' help, I've been conducting job interviews for a position for one of the parishes. We're not finished; but soon I'll have a decision to make about hiring someone.
> I've been able to help--at a critical time--the same family as it experienced the death someone special. Two deaths in a matter of weeks. Twice recently I've been at the bedside, at the hospital, offering the final sacraments and prayers of commendation in Espanol. I am very sorry to have butchered the pronunciation, but it was the best I could do.
We had a funeral Mass last week, offered by a visiting priest, who is fluent in Spanish; and I just got off the phone, having made arrangements for a funeral service later this week for the second person in that family who died.
As it happens, I was called to the man's bedside around 1 am this morning--I had gotten back from a holy hour a little after midnight, and was about to head to bed when the call came. When the nurse rushed us to his bedside, she said, "hurry, hurry"; I was momentarily thrown off--I was going to do the prayers all in Spanish, but I couldn't find them quickly in the book, so I just said the words of absolution, the apostolic blessing and the prayer of anointing in English, and we prayed the final litany in Spanish. He breathed his last a few moments later.
> I also got called to the cemetery for a graveside service on Saturday morning, before some of the job interviews I mentioned. But for the family's privacy I'll say no more. As you might imagine, I have lots of conversations and encounters with parishioners that I never say a word about here, because its private.
> After Mass last night, the parochial vicar and I went out to dinner at a local eatery; as often happens, I saw many of our parishioners, some couples and families out for St. Valentine's Day.
> I have a parishioner to visit at the hospital this afternoon, I'll head there shortly. I came back home to have a bite to eat, post my homily, and then had the phone message about the funeral service (which I expected), and some calls to make.
> This evening, we'll have an "XLT" with the High School group. "XLT" is high-school-speak for "exalt"; we'll have time of praise and worship of the Lord before the Most Blessed Sacrament on the altar of St. Mary. Which meant that I had to remember to consecrate a host for exposition. I was going to do it at 5 pm Mass last night; I forgot, so I left a note for the vicar to do it at 9 am Mass, which he did. I've been thinking a bit about the talk I'll give as part of that.
> Amidst all that, we had a bulletin insert to prepare--for this weekend--that describes the many opportunities for prayer and confessions during Lent, as well as other opportunities such as my weekly Bible study (Wednesday at 7 pm at St. Boniface), which will be on the Gospel of John, starting this week; also we have Gospel reflection groups in folks' homes during the week, and so forth. We got a late change of another parish's penance service, so we had to throw out the copies we'd made and fix them.
> Oh, there were certainly many other things I could describe, but you get the idea.
Off to the hospital in a bit.