|Pray for your priests through the|
intercession of St. Jean Vianney
Dear Mary Ann,
It was well known that [my previous pastor] had a full time cook and housekeeper and that he hosted monthly get together lunches at the rectory for his priest friends. Wine and dine on a weekday when they should have been at work. My parish is unique in that its rectory is [not on the church grounds]. No one sees who is coming and going. If the pastor goes home for lunch and doesn't return nobody at the church knows where he is or what he's doing.Sad to say, I'm sure this goes on in dioceses all over the place. At one of my past parishes the pastor (who is deceased) put in a marble fireplace and other extravagant renovations and purchased expensive furniture as well. Another pastor came in, was appalled at the luxury, and let the school sell the furniture at one of their fund-raising auctions. How many priests look at the parish and the collection as their personal ATM machine?
[The pastor] had a habit of having a nap every day. He was off parish property a lot and seldom in his office. He also spent thousands on rectory renovations including granite countertops in the kitchen, expensive carpet, deck furniture, and a rose garden. He replaced perfectly good exterior porch lights because he didn't like the style of the fixture. I know some of this from our maintenance manager who was sent to do the rewiring.
While it may be true that the house needed some repairs, it is a fact that the pastor spared no expense. Pottery Barn throw pillows on the leather sofa in the den, glassware, dishes enough to entertain 30 people.
I know someone who ran into his cook at the Giant who was in a panic because she couldn't find chicken tenderloins-- the only chicken he would eat.
I also know this, most of the office staff at my parish were very happy when the pastor left and are very happy with the new pastor who reduced our parish budget by $200,000 a year when he came. Somebody it seems was living high on the hog at the rectory and overlooking waste in the parish office as well.
My retreat this week was a five-day version of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. The focus is on detachment from creatures. If they help lead you to God embrace them; if they lead you away from God get rid of them. We were challenged to desire not only spiritual poverty but even actual poverty if God wills it. Now how does that square with a priest in hand-tailored clerics with French cuffs and gold cufflinks living in a lavish rectory and eating only the best of the best. If that's what you have in your parish, you are in trouble (and so is he)!
Let us all pray that God will send us priests who love a simple lifestyle (like Jesus did), who live to serve like St. Jean Vianney and St. John Bosco. If your pastor spends most of his time serving himself and partying with friends (like Bransfield did when he was rector of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception) spend lots of time on your knees praying for him. St. Paul warns:
For many walk, of whom I have told you often (and now tell you weeping), that they are enemies of the cross of Christ; Whose end is destruction; whose God is their belly; and whose glory is in their shame; who mind earthly things. Philippians 3:18-19.Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and Bishop Michael Bransfield aren't the only prelates who lived for their belly and their loins! Pray for bishops and priests. Many are in serious spiritual danger. Mary warned that souls go to hell because they have no one to pray for them. How many of those souls are wearing Roman collars? May God give us an intense love for our priests and a serious desire to pray and fast for the conversion of those who serve themselves instead of God! And if you have a holy priest, thank God and thank him too!