Because of a Priest or Not — Revisited

A comment from Mujerlatina has stirred the YIMC pot the past couple of days. Courageously, she wrote that, though she is a cradle Catholic in her 40s, her ongoing formation as a Catholic has had “nothing to do with any clergy person!” Her extended remarks were the basis of this post from Monday. Commenters alternately seconded and criticized her statement. Not one to back down, Mujerlatina sent me a further comment about her particular experience as a woman: 

I firmly believe that my experience is cut somewhat down gender lines. Here’s how: The one female commenter who has a spiritual advisor found him in the FRIEND of her son—ergo a man much younger than she. I think that as women, because of the inherent celibacy issue of the priestly vocation, we are held at ARM’S DISTANCE from the priests. This is my impression. It is anecdotal. However, it is compelling. I have come to understand that, as a woman, the clergy really cannot bring me into the “fellowship fold.” Hence, no Father Barnes for the likes of me. So how’s THAT for an inflammatory statement? 

I will also add, that, while without priests there would be no Real Presence, God made Jesus incarnate to be in relation with fellow humans. So to say that the priest functions sufficiently in just a sacramental way is illogical. They need to also be there as humans, relating to the parish community—outside of liturgical activities. That does not mean they need to be there individual-for-individual, but to say mass and disappear until confession or a funeral or baptism is not their only role! The priest, consecrated lay person, monk etc. could provide more meaningful “food for the journey” as it were, by offering more communal reconciliation services, missions, prayer and healing masses etc. Wow, so sorry to drivel on. But these are very germane issues. 

Might I add that I really gained much sustenance and insight from all the comments — whether pro or con. Pax Christi.

In an e-mail to me, Mujerlatina asked whether I was concerned that this blog might become an “estrogen festival.” I answered that I think, with two guys at the controls, this jet might really fly with estrogen in the gas tank.

Your comments?

  • Wine in the Water

    I think Mujerlatina makes a really good point .. as do many of the commenters. The simple reality is that she has been impacted by the priesthood, but not by priests. Her whole journey as a Catholic can be deeply dependent on the priesthood while individual priests may have played absolutely no significant role. This idea very much seems to irk some people, but I see it as one of the great strengths of Catholicism. The essential nature of our priesthood is dependent on the office and not the man. Unlike the storefront congregation that comes and goes with the charisma of this or that pastor, the Catholic Church is structured to survive pastors who are failures, sinful, inept. But perhaps even moreso, the Catholic Church is structured to survive pastors who are brilliant, holy, powerful. We can ride out both the Marciels and the Pios.And when it comes down to it, we are much better off when we have pastors who have made an individual impact, but that isn't strictly necessary. Spiritual direction, spiritual fatherhood or motherhood, holy inspiration, catechesis .. all of these do not require Holy Orders (even if they benefit from it) and any person can fill this role.And I take Mujerlatina's point about gender quite well. When I was a young man, I often benefitted from close association with priests. But it would have been difficult if I had been a young woman to do the same. I once had a priest at a Newman Center ask me to cut a hole in his office door and add a window so that he could have private conversations with young women in his office. He was wary of even a hint of impropriety.

  • Anonymous

    I was in complete agreement with the initial email that sparked this discussion. Outside of the confessional I haven't spoken to a priest for years. The parish priests are more or less cyphers who say Mass and then disappear. Mujerlatina is absolutely onto something with this post. If she thinks that priests aren't friendly to her as a 40 something mom with two young children – she should talk to young adult women who are seemingly Kryptonite to priests. Single friends and I joke that the Catholic Church doesn't know what to do with us single women. Single men are great (they might become priests) but single women… kind of useless and potentially dangerous. I am NOT a feminist or a modernist who thinks that women should be priests or anything… but without any defined place in the Church single women are left in a bit of a void. Priests don't seem particularly interested in dealing with that.I can kind of understand priests concerns about scandal but really it's frustrating. We have found in our young adult group that the priest will only respond to the guys. If the women send an email, or make a call there will be absolute silence. It is very much like we don't exist.I am very active in the Church and that won't change. It is very possible to be an active, faithful Catholic growing in ones faith with absolutely zero personal interaction with any vowed religious (outside the confessional).That's a good thing really. Because if my faith was dependent on interacting with priests beyond the Sacraments I would not be Catholic. – Margaret

  • Mandrivnyk

    Yes, I think Mujerlatina makes an important point; it's very different when you are a woman, and doubly so if you are single. I mentioned in my comment on the previous post that a priest helped me a great deal when I first converted – he provided me with a great deal of counsel on the situation with my father, taught me more about prayer, and introduced me to spiritual reading – he actually gave me his old copy of St. Francis de Sales' "Introduction to the Devout Life." However, my roommates were horrified when, say, Father would call me to set up an appointment. We only met at the rectory once, when I wanted to discuss a possible religious vocation with him – beyond that we would meet in very public places. For example, to pray the rosary and chat in the park.Priests are under such a critical eye these days. I remember, too, hearing all the scandalous rumours about Fr. So-and-so having affairs with the latest woman he was providing spiritual direction to. Or, worse – heaven help him if he's too involved with youth group.Of course, it's always been like that. Consecrated Virgin's in the early church, for example, were pretty common and very close to their Bishops – but, even then, that didn't stop people from reading the worst into things. It's just our fallen nature, I guess.I don't think it necessarily has to be like that. Certainly, there are many healthy cases of priest giving women direction – but it does take a great deal of care (and neither are those concerns just for women – you should *hear* the some of the things said about our poor local parish priest and our male choir director). In a way, I think this issue could really be solved by a stronger clerical culture, including more priests! It must be awful lonely to be a priest, with suspicion and accusation on every side.

  • Mary P.

    And I wasn't going to say anything else! But I just have to! I can't help it. Again, please forgive me in advance!Mujerlatina, do you understand what type of relationship you're seeking with a priest? And yes, I do understand what you're saying. I had a priest pay me a personal comment once. That's about the last thing he said to me, aside from hello and goodbye, for the next three years. Yes, I knew he shouldn't have said it; I understood that it was off the cuff, but I also realized that this man is only human (a male human at that!) who had taken the vow of celibacy, and that his decision to limit his contact with me was necessary for him and his vocation. It was very hard for me, as I very much liked him, but I had to respect both his decision and him.Are you looking for someone who will be there whenever you have something on your mind? Are you looking for someone to answer deep spiritual questions? Are you looking for something that's closer than arm's length? In short, are you sure a priest is who you are looking for?As far as a religious figure that has influenced you, I have to say that one who has influenced me profoundly is Mother Teresa. And I've never met her. How close did I have to get to her for her to have that kind of influence on me? You get my point.Please don't feel you need to answer these questions on the forum. It's really none of my business, and I offer these questions hesitantly. And I repeat my offer to pray for you, and I hope that you will pray for me also.

  • Sarah Harkins

    Mujer Latina, you have made quite a fuss! hahaha! Seriously though, thanks for the good discussion. My simple thoughts on this issue- I agree with Mandrivnyk- priests are in quite a predicament and because of their human nature, are limited not only by their own vices, but also by the vices of society. I am sorry, Mujer Latina, that not one single priest from your experiences has ever reached out to you as a woman in need of spiritual guidance- just as they would any man in need of the same help. This may be why St. Frances was elevated to sainthood- he knew how to have a friendship and give and receive spiritual guidance to a woman- St. Clare- and I'm sure she wasn't the only one whom he related to. Yes, priests are human and working on becoming saints just as you and me- some are closer than others, some are naturally good at their female interaction more than others, and then there are those who just stink at it- it may not be a reflection on their holiness, but it is something they need to work on. I think that this is one thing young semenaries are required of more than their elders were- PASTORAL(ness) (a word?) My father, a deacon, my brother, an ex- semenarian, were all too fluent in this study of being pastoral. I think in the years to come, we will see much improvement in this area- and hopefully more St. Francises in the making!

  • Maria

    The Value of Prayer and Sacrifice for PriestsJohn Hardon, S.J.–"…The principal cross which priests experience today is the suffering they feel with the situation in the Church today. As one priest put it I quote, “The cross is the present, the now experience and not some imagined and future pain.” That is why making the Way of the Cross – and I am now recommending the Stations of the Cross to others – I consider a most effective way of praying for priests. To make the Way of the Cross, uniting oneself with Jesus Christ, no longer suffering in His physical body, but suffering in His Mystical Body, which is the Church.I would recommend that all the faithful daily offer at least one prayer for all the priests in the Church and especially for those who have done most for them in their lives. I try to remember at Mass every day the priest who baptized me, the priest who heard my first Confession, who gave me my First Holy Communion, the bishop who ordained me, the bishop who confirmed me. I recommend, therefore, that all the faithful daily, in a special and concrete way, pray for priests. I further strongly recommend that all the faithful offer up each day some sacrifice. I am tempted to say some little sacrifice. NO! I suggest it be the most difficult sacrifice of the day for priests. I further recommend that when we hear about a priest who has been unfaithful to his high calling, that our first and immediate reaction should be to pray for him. I finally recommend we do everything in our power to extend and propagate the apostolate of prayer and sacrifice for priests.

  • Bender

    I think that Mujerlatina overstates her case.Every person who touches us, who interacts with us in some way, invariably influences us, even if only in a minute way. Add up a couple thousand of minute interactions, and pretty soon you are talking about real change.Even Mujerlatina, whom probably none of us has ever met in person, has influenced us in some small way with her concerns. So too is it so with each and every priest or brother or nun or religious sister whom we have ever seen or met.

  • Allison

    @Mary P. I must step in here to respond to your comment "Are you sure it's a priest you are looking for"?I am a happily married Catholic woman and I take deep offense to what I read as the implication that mujerlatina really needs a boyfriend. Maybe she does; I don't know. But this has morphed into a discussion about the role of priests in women's lives, and in single women's lives.I have no doubt that my pastor is comfortable with me because I am a married woman with a husband who is active in our parish. He sees us as a unit, which we largely are. I have had some private meetings with him in his office – about both spiritual and parish matters – but this is after years of getting to know him as part of a married couple. Where do single women go for spiritual guidance in the Catholic Church? I had no conversations with priests in my single 20s – except about my impending marriage. I did go on a (coed) singles retreat and the priest who ran it was wonderful and essentially told us – continue to go to Mass every Sunday but if you find you need more spirituality, don't be afraid to explore other faiths, such as Quakerism, as a supplement to your Catholic faith.Single Catholics can really be in a desert, which is where it sounds like mujerlatina is.Where can single Catholics, particularly women, go to find spiritual sustenance outside the sacraments? Perhaps joining a third order, guided retreats? This blog?

  • Frank

    "Single Catholics can really be in a desert, which is where it sounds like mujerlatina is."I am probably speaking out of turn here but in my parish there are groups for single people, men,women, senior "kids" etc.And their are quite a view womens guilds as well. It may be that none of the schedules of their meetings work out for being involved. And there may be nothing…which means it just may be a group that you need to start! I can guarantee that she isn't alone with these feelings in her parish. It may only seem so, but the truth is that there are other single mothers who are essentially "Flying Solo". she obviously isn't alone with these feelings here either.Webster said in another post, "come and they will build it." Bones, you may have found your apostolate!

  • Warren Jewell

    Add enough dimensions and only Christ could become 'the solid all-around go-to-guy priest'.Again, a matter of numbers: Older associate pastor deals with the young ladies, young newly ordained fella gets the old ladies en Guild.But, all along, I have noticed that it is 'family' that seems to drive the greatest pastoral involvement. Have kids in the school, and topics get endless.Maybe more later.

  • Webster Bull

    All of these comments interest me, especially because I read them against the background of my friendship with Father Barnes, which helps form the backdrop for this blog itself. I should say a couple of things about that, because people might be unconsciously thinking, Aw, Webster has such a great friendship with his priest; anything short of that is incomplete. I have said to myself many times and aloud to Katie at least once, "I don't think it's a good idea to get too close to my priest." I meant this in relation to FB, because of course he is my priest, but it was nothing personal about him as a human being. I meant it and I mean it as a general statement about lay-clerical relations. Setting aside how it feels for the priest (lonely?), I don't think it behooves any Catholic, male or female, to feel all buddy-buddy with his or her priest. I think a certain distance is right and proper, and in some respects a woman may have the advantage here, because the social awkwardness keeps the distance by itself. The priest has chosen his vowed life of celibacy to open himself to a greater Friendship, a greater meaning: to be Christ among us, an alter Christus. This is a big deal. Let me put it to you this way: Can you imagine St. Jean Vianney or St. Pio sitting down with a group of guys, or gals, at the local coffee shop and chewing the fat, getting all intimate and chummy? No, me neither. Am I making any sense or is it just late?

  • jan

    You make perfect sense, Webster. It's fine to have a social relationship of sorts with your priest, but there must necessarily be a distance maintained. He is, after all, the one to whom you must confess your sins. Kind of hard to do if you're all buddy-buddy.

  • Ferde

    It's just late, Webster. I have no issues with knowing Father Barnes on a personal level and respecting and honoring him as my pastor. The two relationships, and they are TWO relationships, do not and should not exclude each other.Everyone acknowledges that priests are overburdened and many lead lonely lives. It doesn't have to be that way. Imagine if everyone thought it was inappropriate to be friends with their priest. Wouldn't we be just making their lives more difficult?Father Barnes enjoys the friendships he has with his parishioners, but I have no doubt he knows he's the boss and the rest of us know it, too. Get some sleep. See you in the morning if you can make your way to Mass. God bless you, buddy.

  • Janet

    Webster–I can't imagine John Vianney or Padre Pio doing that, but I can imagine Fr. Karol Wojtyla doing that, because he did. You know, I never really thought about this too much before, because my family (my grandparents, my parents, my husband and myself) has always had friends who were priests. We have always had priests over to the house. I don't think I ever realized that that was unusual. I mean, there is always, I wouldn't exactly say a distance, but a difference–a deference we show them that we don't show others and a respect for their office. Still, some of them have been really good friends. I do see, though, how this couldn't happen easily with a single woman–especially a young single woman. But now that I come to think about it, Padre Pio had a very good friend that was a woman. There was a lot of stupid gossip about their friendship.Well, I think I'm rambling, but I guess I'm saying that this is just a very complex topic. AMDG,Janet

  • Maria

    I grew up with Jesuits in our home. I can still remember "Black Mac", as we called him, reading "If I Ran the Circus", to me, hundreds of times. They certainly drank plenty of bourbon. They laughed with us. Argued with us. They went on vacations with us. They said Mass for us at the beach. But, then again, I never had these sorts of relationships with any other order. How grateful I am. I am single. Never married. It is difficult sometimes; however,I am just so grateful that there are priests to hear my confession, to provide the Holy Eucharist. They endure a crucible right now and need our support, in prayer. The Holy Spirit guides us, doesn't he?

  • Shannon

    I was really fortunate to know my friend Paul. I met him before he was ordained a deacon, was part of the ordination liturgy, and shared much of life with him and a couple of other friends every month when we had dinner together, or went to movies, or to a concert. He came from a big family and was very close to them. He knew how to make friends and wove us into his life.While his parish assignments moved him more than a hundred miles from his last place, a tight circle of friends who had known each other from our twenties was important. Paul and I shared a call to ministry, his as a priest, mine as a teacher and now as a prison chaplain. When we got together, we shared about the work we did and the ways we discovered God at work. We spoke a common language and the love and support we shared was life-giving to both of us.Paul died in 2008, far too young, a good priest and pastor to the parishes he served, a good friend and companion.These days, I share a friendship with another priest–2 hour dinners at restaurants before he comes into the prison to talk with the men about being Catholic, being a priest, being a man. Before he went for a serious operation in November, I was the nagging sister who got him to think through his will and reconnect with a friend. We share ministry and the church stuff, we rant and rage at what stirs us most, and we are uncommonly good friends.There are too few priests around these days to expect to be good friends with them, but frankly, that's not really the issue. Many of the ordained have never had good solid relationships with men OR women. And some of them should be called on the c–p they give women. Honestly, not responding to a woman in a group? Not answering email? Damn childish.


    Thanks for the comment by Sarah Harkins! I never thought about using St. Francis as a model in terms of his relationship with St. Clare. Excellent paradigm. BTW, I really enjoy Sarah's blog, 'The Clay Rosary Girl.' @Sarah: your Rosaries and chaplets are works of art and inspire even the children to pray more. Your ministry as a young married Catholic and mother is so inspiring. Thank you for your comment to my above 'dilemma.' Your wisdom is appreciated.

  • Anonymous

    Webster,I think you would enjoy the youtube clip "May feelings II" posted on 'The Clay Rosary Girl's' blog. Worth sharing!! It's amazing how one thing leads to another on this site… wish I could spend all day here.S.

  • Anonymous

    Having read multiple biographies of Padre Pio, I must interject that even with all his terrible suffering, he is reported to have had a happy "Italian" spirit and enjoyed the occasional time spent chatting with friends (two different books even wrote out his favorite joke, in its entirety!) And he certainly had numerous "spiritual children" – men and women alike. Granted, much of what we know about these friendships is preserved via their written correspondence, so I'm not positive as to how often he met them for discussions in person. His ability to bilocate might account for how he was able to counsel so many, yet hear confessions for 16 hours straight! ;-) On topic . . . my experience has been much like Janet's. When I was growing up, we were fortunate to have clergymen to dinner often. As a child, I was quite accustomed to their presence and became used to the "respectful distance" that we showed them in love. One certain priest, a dear family friend, would come to my parents' home about five times per year (he still does, although now we struggle to remember to address him as Monsignor.) And in the newer, married season of my life, my husband's best friend is a monk who will soon be a priest (Lord willing.) The long and short of it is – and I'm quite ashamed to admit this – it never occurred to me that I was blessed in this regard, to always know that there were men of the cloth to whom I could turn if I needed guidance. I truly wish I had something more to contribute, but I'm at a loss – other than suggesting that we all seek additional guidance by taking in the writings of the Holy Father and priests like Father John Corapi . . . which I'll bet that Mujerlatina and most of you do already! (Of course, the Scriptures and the Catechism should always be our first and second "go-to" readings, lest anyone think I am implying otherwise.)Lastly, I pray that the Holy Spirit leads everyone who struggles with this very important matter to a resolution. And may He bless the Church with many more fervent and devout priests, so that the ones we have are not so overworked that they cannot properly minister their flock. Mother of God, pray for us! Jesus, hear us and have mercy.Love in our Savior,Jessica

  • Anonymous

    When I read this post on Monday and didn't have the time to respond, I figured it would be too late today to do so, but clearly not! I would like to speak from my own experience. Mujerlatina, I can say that for the first 32 years of my life I could relate to your feeling that no one clergy person has influenced your faith. A cradle Catholic myself, I would say the Sisters of Notre Dame who taught me and the priests who ministered the sacraments to me & whom I have indirectly known over the years certainly helped form my Catholic being. But I couldn't point to any one in particular that had a great impact on me.Over the last 7 years I can also say, that I have been blessed to call Fr. Barnes a good friend (& close friend to my family, I'm married with 7 children and my husband & I are very invloved in our parish). It was a friendship I never expected and quite a gift.Our friendship with FB has strengthened my faith personally and his support for our ever growing family over the years has been invaluable. Meeting a priest who is clearly in love with Christ and His Church, hearing him preach the Truth (which isn't always easy or popular, but what I need/want to hear!), seeing him live his vocation joyfully, learning from his knowledge and understanding of the Faith, and closely witnessing the sacrifices he makes (as all priests make), helps me want to live my vocation well. (Okay, I don't want to put him up on a pedestal here either lest he get a big head) He is also very human, with all that goes with it. I can say getting to know him as a friend helped me to understand on a greater level how Christ became flesh. Christ had a personality. Christ was misunderstood, hated even. Christ had close friends, and Christ had acquaintences. Christianity started as a friendship and is lived through the Sacraments of the Church as friendship. It gives me great joy to share the gift of our family life so FB is able to "enjoy" that which he so willingly sacrificed. (dinners around a loud busy table, parties, watching Red Sox games, occasional trips to the zoo or circus, (sometimes dinner at our table and the circus are one in the same!) etc.) The Pope reminds us that every vocation in life instructs the other vocations. How true! Ideally we complement each other, strengthen each other, help one another. However, I realize that is the ideal and not always the reality. It can be very difficult for priests to be close with any of the laity these days.Interestingly, (because of the great need for more priests) I can see that a family's friendship with a priest could have a huge impact on the family's sons! My affection for FB sometimes comes from my maternal instincts when I think, “What if that was my son living alone in that rectory?” “Is he eating well, sleeping well, etc.” I can only hope and pray that if it is the Lord's Will that one of my three sons be called to the priesthood they will respond to that call. But I do know they will have had a very positive influence of what the priesthood is like from our friendship with FB. One more note: I feel it is appropriate to mention on this Feast Day of St. Thomas Aquinas – he once wrote the mark of a true friendship is "benevolencia;" the wishing well for the other. May we all experience "benevolencia" through our friendships in the Church, whether they be with men of the cloth, married people, singles, etc., even through this blog! Mujerlatina, perhaps the person of the cloth who will most influence your life you have not met yet? Thank you for sharing your thoughts and may your desire to be close to Christ continue to help you on your faith journey.God Bless you Webster (and Frank) for bringing these great thoughts, experiences and discussions into an open forum on this blog, but from the convenience of our homes!Your friend in Christ,Jules

  • Webster Bull

    Jules, Thank you so much for participating in this discussion! Your family is a tribute to our parish. I was thrown initially by Mujerlatina's situation; how could I as a married father of two relate to her situation? But your response and that of other women in particular has opened my mind to things I might not have considered. We have to do this for each other, don't we?

  • Mary P.

    Dear Allison and Mujertlatina: After letting this sit, I really feel the need to respond to Allison's comment. As a professional writer, I understand that anything I type can have implications read into it. After I submitted my comments, I actually asked Webster to hold onto it, but it had already been published. I was pretty sure someone would read something into it that wasn't there and get upset. And TADA! That's what happened.I never said Mujerlatina needed a boyfriend. Actually, I'd bet a lot of money that that's about the very last thing she's looking for. So if that was implied, it was certainly not intentional. My comments related to priests, and what we can expect from them and what we can't. I am a cradle Catholic, as she is, who has known a lot of priests — all sorts of priest. I've met the good, the bad, and the boring. One of the 2 priests who performed my marriage ceremony (the other was a relative, thank God!) turned out to be a pedophile. My brother was a priest. I count priests among my friends today. But with this familiarity comes the profound respect for the line that no priest must cross. And guess what? If you find one that is veering towards that line, the situation can become very, very difficult for all involved.Sometimes, as a single woman, it's easy to think that a priest is the ultimate "safe" male, because of his position where he is compelled to help everyone, including single women, but not make relationship demands in return. But this duty also makes him vulnerable, especially when the women who come to him for help are attractive, educated and single. It is imperative that he exercise caution in any way he must to stay true to his vows in an professional as well as a personal and especially emotional context. If Mujerlatina or any other single woman is looking for spiritual guidance, then the only thing you can do is to go out and look for it. Warren had an excellent suggestion about young women seeking older priests and vice versa. My pastor is that person for me, in spite of the many priests that I know better. Although I trusted his guidance, I never thought I would develop a friendship with him. I felt the boundaries that must be preserved, if I was married (and I am) or single, would be preserved easily for us both. It turns out that we have become friends. Surprise!If Mujerlatina or any other woman is looking for a priest who can be a close friend, someone who will drop anything they're doing when the need for comfort arises, someone to pray with (as opposed to for) her, then maybe that is not a reasonable expectation for a priest. There are just too few, spread too thin. But after attending daily mass, especially long term, I've met numerous people who would fit that bill for me. I believe Webster has alluded to this in his comments through daily mass. Although I don't want to read any inferences into Webster's words! He can tell us.Our priests have the obligation of following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ Himself. How impossible can we imagine that to be? Not only that, but their numbers are fast diminishing. They are a precious resource that we, as members of the Church, must support in any way we can.In closing, our priests do so much for us, even if you see them only ministering the sacraments from a distance. I'd like to call more people to stop asking how our priests can serve us, man, woman, child, single or married, better, and ask instead what we can do to support them better. I've done my best to do that. And I can honestly say that I have been made exponentially spiritually richer for it. And isn't that what it's all about?

  • Frank

    Again, in a nutshell, these are real life examples of problems inherent in sola scriptura n'est-ce pas? Everyone, all together now…breath ;-)


    Since these comments relate to my original 'posts', might I just add that I absolutley never have wanted nor asked for the friendship of a priest!! @Mary P.: Perhaps you read into MY comments earlier this week. I will tell you PRECISELY what I have looked for in a priest: When my four year old was hospitalised in respiratory distress and almost died from intractable asthma and pneumonia, I called the Rectory for, yes PRAYER with/for my little girl AND my daughter and me. To be told that the priest was 'busy planning a dinner with the Bishop and preparing for upcoming Confirmation' over the next few days, was not only unChristian, but ludicrous. The next time my little girl was urgently hospitalised we happened to run into the pastor who was on his way to the bedside (he informed me) of 'a well-heeled' parishoner. I quietly supplicated the pastor if he could spare a moment with my little girl who was on oxygen — perhaps a blessing? He quickly waved his hand over her, like swatting away a mosquito, and was on his way — never to be seen again. Is it too much to ask a priest to visit a child who is so ill she might die? "Breathe?!" Yes, I breathe and I stay up many nights helping my chronically ill little girl with her breathing treatments. Then I get up for work, and tend to my patients. You got it right, Mary P. I don't want a boyfriend — too busy, thank you. But I DO want a priest — not as a friend — but as a SERVANT of God. And I know I am not the only person, single or otherwise, who has had this difficulty in finding one. I am glad that Mary P. has found consolation in priests as servants and friends. Now let us put this conversation to rest. Let us ALL breathe the renewal of the Holy Spirit. Pray for me, as I pray for you all. Pax Christi.

  • Anonymous

    Mujerlatina, I too hope to find a "SERVANT of God" who can provide spiritual guidance and reinforce my beliefs in our religion. As another "Anonymous" wrote, "perhaps the person of the cloth who will most influence your life you have not met yet?" Have faith that the future is bright and that you shall seek and you will find.