If you were to ask me ‘what is the best part about being a diocesan priest’, I would immediately reply, ‘the people’.
The typical diocesan priest will probably work in five or six parishes over 30 years of priesthood. In that time, he will learn about the vulnerability of human nature and he will marvel at the depth of faith of ordinary people. That is what teaches him about the grace of God – much more so than any textbook can teach.
The diocesan priest will be privileged to be part of those crucial times in the lives of many. He will work closely (these days, much more so than before) with some wonderful lay people, and he will form a few very close relationships with families or single men and women.
When a priest enters a new parish, he hopes to make a difference. Either he can begin something new, or simply build on the work of his predecessors. Does he succeed? I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know he will always be able to look back at something significant that has happened in each parish, and it will be his parish community which sustains him.
The diocesan priest can work in many areas of the apostolate, even while leading a parish.
In addition to general parish work, he is limited only by his imagination and sense of vision.
A parish is never complete. It always has room for growth, so there is no fear that there won’t be a challenge wherever he goes. That’s the beauty of this calling. Has it been fulfilling for me? Yes, far more than I ever dreamed possible.