Being a priest serving the Catholic community in Scotland today is fast changing. There are fewer engaged in active ministry than in the past and the Catholic population is changing - it is diminishing in size, the average age is increasing, it is becoming ever-more diverse, and, with the influence of our increasingly-secular world, regular church practice is declining.
And yet the tasks a priest will engage in - and the expectations of him from both within and outside the Church community - seem to increase as the years go by.
In all that, however, one essential truth remains: it is a privilege and a joy to give one's life in service of Christ and his People. Whatever the daily demands and pressures, the expectations and worries a priest might experience, it remains an immense privilege to bring the healing power of Christ to the lives of the sick, the sinner, the lost; there is a powerful drive to build up the Kingdom of God in our communities, among our families, and in the hearts of individuals; it is a deep and unspeakable joy - and a responsibility before which every priest quakes - to feel that one is acting in the name of Jesus Christ, preaching his word, celebrating his life, and sharing his love and his sacrifice with the people of our time.
No one is a priest for himself alone: priesthood is always about giving out of love, in the name of Christ, for the good of others. (more…)