What do priests do all day?
What a priest does all day will depend on the ministry he is assigned to. If he is assigned to a parish, then he will celebrate Mass publicly each day, visit the sick at home or in hospital, visit schools in his parish, conduct baptisms, marriages and funerals, hear confessions, administer the sacrament of the sick, organise parish activities, take responsibility for the administration of the parish, and so on. He may have a particular interest, and so give some time to organise events around it. If a priest was deeply interested in ecology, for example, he might arrange a parish event around Pope Francis’s Laudato Sí. Or he may be gifted musically and organise a church choir or choral recitals in the church, or he might have an interest in Scripture and offer classes on the Bible for parishioners.
The possibilities for priestly work and leadership in the community are endless. Innovation and creativity in ministry show that the Holy Spirit is at work.
Some priests may also work as teachers, others as counsellors, or as spiritual directors or writers, others as chaplains in hospitals, in the army, in schools, in universities, etc.
What is important is not so much the particular work a priest does but the priestly service he offers to God’s people as he labours in that part of the vineyard of the Lord to which he is assigned. Priesthood should not be viewed solely in a functional way, but should, rather, be properly understood as a sacrament – thus making present through the priest, Christ himself who has come ‘that they have life and have it to the full’.
Most popular questions
- I feel I have a specific charism to youth outreach. Can I live this charism out as a priest, or must I follow the charism of the order I join?
- What is a deacon and how is it different than a priest?
- What can I do as a priest that I cannot do as a layperson working for a charity or NGO?
- If I become a priest can I decide where I go and what I do?
- What if as a priest I need to take time out to care for a relative or family member?
- If I request information about joining a religious organisation, will I be pressured into joining?
- What’s the difference between a diocesan priest and a priest in a religious order?
- What does discernment mean when we’re talking about vocation?
- If I take a vow of celibacy, will I get very lonely?
- As a priest if I decide that I no longer want to do something, such as work in a specific parish, do I have any say or is it all out of my hands?