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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Changes of Title

No, you haven't landed on the wrong page.

I just thought it was time to retire as a "rookie priest." I'll continue to explore the new experiences of priesthood. Though I'm not quite a rookie anymore, I still have my share of "first time" experiences.

But I will also begin to explore more specifically the challenges and the consolations of being a "hyphenated priest." This is one of the things that drew me to religious life in the Society of Jesus. Jesuits tend to have dual identities or multiple identities which demand a good deal of their time. So, one is often a priest and . . .

In my case, at least for now, I'm a student-priest, a professor-priest and a writer-priest. These occupations are not peripheral to my priesthood but, rather, are transformed and enhanced by the fact that I'm a priest. My approach to teaching and my relationship with my students is different because I'm a Jesuit and a priest. Indeed, I think it makes me a better teacher. The lines get blurred a little when, because I'm a priest, a student shares something with me or asks my help with something as a priest. I have to switch identities, while also maintaining certain boundaries (the student needs to be aware that sharing his or her faith life with me, for example, is not going to improve his or her grade). But it's also a privilege to share more deeply in my students' lives.

In addition to my prayer experience, and my sacramental ministry as a priest, these are also the places where God stalks me and talks to me. And so I'll share how God finds me in both my experience as a priest, and in my "hyphenate" experiences.