In May I celebrated 38 years as a priest. I almost forgot about the day. What does astound me is that five of those years have been here at St. Agnes Cathedral. It does not seem possible that five years have gone by since I moved from the south side of Springfield. They have been good years. As a parish we have accomplished much in brick and mortar, in spiritual growth and in helping the poor. I am not going into all the different programs and areas which have been happening these five years, but to simply say thank you to all of you who have worked in any of the ministries here at St. Agnes.
A man goes into the seminary, not stating he is going to be a priest, but as any person entering college with a possible idea of a major. Only if a man studies what it is to be a priest, can a man make that decision clearly. My whole idea of priesthood was shattered the first few months I was in the seminary. I found out that priests were human beings and did not spend all day in prayer or in church. Even the Benedictine monks whom I studied under for seven and half years worked in the schools, in the flower beds, at the Printing House, in the cafeteria, all different types of jobs. They then came together for prayer and meals.
My life as a priest is anything but boring. Each day brings its’ own successes and failures, joys and sorrows. All of that depends upon the needs of the people. Priesthood has been and is an exciting life. But it is just like any other life, married or single. Priesthood is what you make of it. I know that I am not perfect and my style of ministry is not the same as all other priests. That was one important thing that St. Meinrad taught us, be the person you are and use what God has given you to be the best priest you can.
Enjoying the different liturgies, my love of music, my love of plants and building things, different types of art and decorating, the musicals, my love of teaching and even my travels are all unique ways that I try to use to enhance my ministry. Some of my fellow priests say that I over do, others just think that I am “nuts”. Regardless, all of these areas of my life are what makes me who I am, and why I am never bored.