Thursday, January 25, 2018

A Full Week and a Full Life

This past Sunday, I had a very enjoyable conversation with a two of the teen girls in the parish and their mother. We were sitting around one of the tables in the Anderson Room after Mass, eating snacks, and one of girls suddenly perked up and said puzzled, "so, this is your only job? What do you do all week?" I used to be a bi-vocational priest, so I'm used to the notion of having to juggle more than one career, but the question took my by surprise. It was a good reminder that most people don't know that the bulk of a parish priest's work is invisible and unglamorous, and takes place on the other six days of the week. So, I explained to her that a usual week contains some fundamental tasks: preparing the Sunday bulletin, composing the weekly email newsletter, updating the parish website and social media, cleaning and organizing the building, taking care of administrative work in the office, preparing my homily, visiting parishioners in their homes and the hospital when they're sick, coordinating business with the musicians and vestry members, attending diocesan meetings and trainings, and much more. And then there are things that vary. Last week, I cleaned out filing cabinets and polished brass. This week, I created a new manual for the altar guild with a comprehensive task list and lots of cool pictures. Even though my desk is tidy on Sundays, during the week, it goes through various stages of messiness.
Every week is a full week, and a full life. A very satisfying life. So, I am incredibly grateful that donors in the Diocese of Chicago and our bishop, Jeff Lee, have provided funding that will allow me to move from 3/4 time to full time for the next two years. This will permit me to devote myself fully to the joy of growing this church, with its many weekly tasks, both glamorous and mundane. I feel blessed to be supported by you and by our diocese to fulfill the potential that God has instilled in us.

Abundant blessings,
Fr. Ethan+

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