A diocesan priest spends his time being God’s instrument in the world. His activity revolves around the priestly identity given to him at Ordination, and the three munera, or roles, of the priest–to teach, to sanctify, and to govern. They correspond to the three identifications of Christ as Priest (sanctifier), Prophet (teacher), and King (governor). Each munera is exercised in different ways depending upon the specific assignment of the priest.
The munera of teaching is exercised whenever he preaches at Mass, offers spiritual counsel, teaches in a parish school, etc.
The munera of governing is expressed through the daily administration of the parish, or specific ministry, and through providing for the human and spiritual needs of his flock.
His Life Is Not Ordinary
But a “typical” day in the life of a priest may involve:
• celebration of Mass(es)
• lots of personal prayer
• meeting and counseling people (old, young, married, single)
• hearing Confessions
• visiting the sick and attending to the dying
• meeting with staff and administering the parish
• visiting with children from the parish school or youth groups
• performing a funeral Mass
• attending a wake
• and more!
A priest is a still a man, so part of his daily life includes free time for himself, exercise, entertainment and being with friends and family. These things, just as is the case for all people, are interspersed in the everyday life of a priest, and help us to remember that a priest is “taken from among men and made their representative before God” (Hebrews 5:1) and is not lacking in the needs that that all people possess.
His Life Is Configured to Christ
The daily life of a priest in the parish is permeated by his configuration to Jesus Christ. This means that priests are called to a way of life that gives evident and clear witness to the power of the Gospel at work in their personal and ministerial lives, which cannot ever be totally separated. His whole life becomes a witness.
He Is a Member of a Priestly Brotherhood
One integral part of the life of a Diocesan Priest is the community to which he belongs. As it is said: “No man is an island.” This is true for the Diocesan Priest too. His life is filled with the friendship and brotherhood of other priests in his presbyterate.
He Is a Son, Brother, and Spiritual Father
In addition to his community and personal friendships with brother priests, each diocesan priest enjoys the community of his parish, where he is engaged in the daily lives of his parishioners as a friend, brother, and spiritual father. Of course, he also enjoys the community of his own family, interacting with them in a profound way, as a priest and as a son, brother, uncle, etc.
He May Have a Specialized Ministry
Usually, a diocesan priest serves as a parish priest at the local level, but sometimes he will be assigned to a “specialized ministry”, where he serves the church at the diocesan level instead. This may include being chaplain at a school, hospital, prison, or military facility; a director of an office such as Vocations, Youth, College, or Pro-Life ministries; a seminary formator or faculty member, etc. Regardless of his assigned ministry, he will live in a parish or seminary setting, celebrating Mass each day and administering the sacraments routinely.
Learn more about the Priesthood
Importance of Priesthood
The Priesthood is a call, not a career; a redefinition of self, not just a new ministry; a way of life, not a job; a state of being, not just a function; a permanent, lifelong commitment, not a temporary style of service; an identity, not just a role.
Becoming a Priest
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