At NYMO we love our priests. They are awesome role models, striving for sainthood. Sure, sometimes they get it wrong – don’t we all – but they are human beings after all.
I am as guilty as anyone of expecting our priests to be superhuman, not a reasonable expectation but an expectation none the less.
In my roles as Director of Youth Ministry and Communications, I witness the life and ministry of many of our priests close up. I know how hard many of them work, they are certainly not shirkers! It is, literally their life.
We judge them, often, purely on the time we see them; an hour a week, twice a week, once a month (you get the idea). We have no idea what is going on in their lives, we assume they have it all together. They may (and probably have) been up since 2.00am after being called to the hospital or sat with a bereaved family just before Mass or carrying the burden of parish administration or stressed because they did not have enough time to prepare for a baptism, wedding, funeral all the things which they know are so personally important to each of us.
Maybe they deserve a break?
The vast majority of our priests only take one day off per week (many not even that), most of us get a weekend or equivalent- not everyone sure, but most (they are not complaining by the way).
So next time you see your priest, don’t judge him for looking grumpy or his homily being over your head or looking tired or being a little late – ask him if he is ok. Just check in with him and love him, he is not a bad man but he is just a man.