Wednesday, March 25, 2009

An Interesting Conversation

As I type the title of this blog I have the voice of the "polish priest" from my parish in my head. Fr. Marek came as a temporary vicar while we awaited the arrival of our new pastor. Msgr. Martin McDonnell came to be our pastor this past Thursday, the feast of St. Joseph. Fr. Martin, is off the boat Irish as in was born and raised in Ireland, in the county next to the one my mom is from, which means dad's county isn't too far away either. Oh the "million dollar" question is how long will Fr. Marek be with us. So far he's still here, and it's honestly strange to have 3 priests in the parish again. There were originally 3 priests at the parish when my parents and I moved in and shortly after that just two which is what we have had for a while now. Fr. Martin said the 12:05pm Mass on Monday and Tuesday, and I was beginning to wondering of Fr. Marek was still around, well he is, he said the 12:05pm Mass on Wednesday. He was greatly amused that Mary, myself, was reading on the feast of Mary. He gave a very short homily, with his accent and sitting in the first pew of the church, it was hard to understand it fully. For some reason our microphone system causes hearing issues, well more being able to understand the speaker fully issues, in the first 5 pews.

Anyway, I was walking out after Mass and Fr. Marek stopped to say hi and then asked about the retreat (our Women's Cornerstone retreat was over the weekend) how it went, how team is picked. Then he asked what I studied, and I said I was a religious studies major at Seton Hall and that I was thinking of going back either for theology, nursing, or taking a campus ministry position. Somehow the topic of me taking over youth ministry at the parish came up, I pointed out that our youth minister, Jen, is quite capable and does a good job. The topic of young adult ministry came up as well and I said Fr. George, our former pastor knew that was my soap box issues, I said I'd talk to the new pastor once he got settled instead of bombarding him with the issue right now. We continued on with how I was a part of the youth ministry program under Fr. Geno who is now in charge of Evangelization for the Diocese. The main point of that conversation was that Fr. Geno might know his stuff, which he does, but how with the letters STD (from Rome) after his name his statements hold more clout. I mentioned that I run into that all the time by not having my Masters degree. I was told to go study and get the letters after my name and that I should get young adult ministry started at my parish.

The rest of the conversation involved Fr. Marek asking me "who's the young strapping man that sits next to you at Mass?" I said oh that's Jerry, we do youth ministry together. Fr. Marek responded with, "oh just youth ministry, nothing more." I said no, Jerry's a junior at Seton Hall and has a girlfriend. Fr. Marek very quickly offered a "we'll have to get rid of her." I said no, I like her, she can stay. I nearly added that there is a young man closer to my age that I like, but I didn't. I went out to my car and texted Jerry because that story was just too funny.

However Fr. Marek's comments got me thinking, and my drive out to Harrisburg almost 2 weeks ago, a nearly 6 hour drive total will get you thinking, especially when you usually take that drive with your friend and discuss your life with her. It got me thinking of do I ask Fr. Martin to create a position for Confirmation and Young Adult Ministry or do I just let Confirmation fall under religious education. Our youth minister is currently the confirmation director as well, but she's a week away from having her first child, so I'm pretty sure she's only coming back for youth ministry next year. If I could somehow manage a way to get the Confirmation director position, added in with young adult ministry and well pro-life ministry, it could warrant a "full-time" salary with benefits, and maybe the diocese could pay for my Masters degree. My only issue is how do I ask my parish to pay me.

I always come up with great scenarios and then just let it bypass me or settle or something else. The more I try to get away from ministry the more I get pulled into it. After the retreat, and then having 8th graders ask me questions about the Passion of the Christ (Mel Gibson's version) and being able to answer then without missing a beat and just having the other "teachers" stare at me reminded that I do know what I'm doing. I just hate having to use a damn textbook to teach it. I don't want to settle for a DRE position, I'd kill the majority of the parents out there for not giving a damn about being Catholic. I don't blame the kids, it's hard to when Mom and Dad don't do crap to show them how to be Catholic. I have 8th graders who hardly know the traditional prayers of the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be.

I hate when I get into this mood and don't know what to do with it. I'm reminded of how I wish to take the vocations stories of the priests that affected my life and put it into a book similar to Called by Name: The Inspiring Stories of 12 Men Who Became Catholic Priests by Dr. Christine Anne Mugridge, Jerry Usher.

I've been told I have a gift of writing. Fr. Brian heard my talk on the retreat and the first thing he said to me was "Catechism and personal stories, wow!" I've been giving retreat talks since I was in college, well high school, so it's almost second nature for me. I know it's a gift, I just wish I could use it more than I am.

Oh well I'm off to bed as I am going to visit my friend and her family in Albany today, about time my goddaughter got a visit from me.

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