So...we have all heard stories of not awesome clergy. Whether priests/deacons/bishops...it seems like everyone shares about 'one priest they know that did XYZ' making them want to leave the Catholic Church. And, you know I have ran into some flawed humans who happen to be priests as well. BUT, for the most part, I have only had positive experiences with holy men in clergy. For this week's five favorites, I'd like to tell you about some of them.
I know, I know, kind of cheating since they aren't clergy!
For a hot second my brother was in the seminary. Because of that, I got to know many of the guys. Now, one of my best friends, Mario (JP's godfather) is in the seminary and so I get to meet a few more of them. I love when I meet those special seminarians who will make a significant impact in our Church. I love hanging out with Mario and his homie Brian...both down to earth, hilarious guys, guys that are going to continue the Church's tradition of being good. LOVE me some awesome seminarians.
Is there anything better than a young priest who is authentic and excited to serve the Lord? This weekend, I was at an event called the 'New Pentecost Project'. The priest that married us, Father Craig, was speaking. His message was awesome and his demeanor actually gave me a moment of pause. Holiness radiates off of him. Take him, and Father Steve, and Father Paul and all the other wonderful young priests who are helping to shape the current Church...it's hard not to feel inspired.
Priests who have shaped me
As I said, I have pretty much only had awesome experiences with priests. Our parish priest, Father Bob, when I was in high school, went with a couple friends and I down to Cedar Point for the day and rode the best roller coasters with us. Talk about EVANGELIZATION. Another parish priest, Father Henry, cut me a check one day that enabled me to go on a Mission Trip to Africa...are you kidding me!?!?! I have worked underneath excellent priests who have gently guided and always affirmed. Then there's Father Alex, I met with him once and he opened doors that allowed me to go the HOLY LAND! NO JOKE! I have had good experiences with such holy men, bummer we don't get to hear about them.
Have you ever hung out with an awesome Bishop? A member of the hierarchy. Some of you might have negative views of the hierarchy of the Church. Can I tell you something? I have only had interactions with servants among servants when it comes to Bishops (personal experience) . The other day, I was in a meeting with Bishop Byrnes...do you guys know him? Talk about living down to earth, authentic holiness...when I'm around him, it makes me want to be better, both in my personal life and in my ministry. And, let's talk about that Bishop of Rome (Pope Francis)...are you kidding me!?!?! We are in good shape.
Media Savvy PriestsI love me some seminarians/deacons/priests/bishops/popes who understand we no longer have an option to check out of the world of social media. I love seeing the status updates of clergy, inspiring and present in a digital world often lacking in truth, beauty and goodness. Good on you clergy who have embraced what it means to evangelize in this crazy world :) Thanks for giving me hope!
And that, today is my five favorites. Do I think wearing a collar makes you automatically exempt from sin/human failings? Nope! Have I met so many fantastic servants of the Lord who wear a collar? Yup! Do they occasionally deserve a shout out!??! Heck to the yes they do, and here it is :)