At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like a sheep without a shepherd. // Matthew 9:36
It was such a feast to be with Father Swenson—to delight in his presence and discuss the construction of the new church building. He easily could have been the male version of Mother Angelica.
I will never forget the first time we took Father out for breakfast. He happily ordered pigs in a blanket—a breakfast entree I had never heard anyone order before. Since he frequented this particular restaurant with other parishioners, the staff knew him, and he didn’t need their name tags to call them by name.
This priest was as instrumental in the development of my faith as he was intimidating, but I loved being known by him. I remember how during the first time I was asked to lead a decade of the Rosary with the congregation, Father exclaimed “louder” from the altar.
When Father Swenson passed away, I felt abandoned. We had no other priestly father like him. Even with his healthy Irish temper, he was so much more than our parish priest because he truly fathered each and every one of us.
“At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like a sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).
No one has ever taken this faithful servant’s place in my heart, but I have since committed to praying for priests and religious. It’s so easy to complain about the shortage of priests we have in our diocese and point out all the ways it doesn’t measure up against other thriving dioceses, but complaining doesn’t bear fruit.
Pining for something I don’t have access to (a CFR friary would be nice) doesn’t produce laborers for the harvest.
I may not have a priest in my contact list who I can call up or invite over for dinner, but my sense of abandonment has turned into gratitude.
Sister, join me in praying for priests. Let’s support them with our deepest gift of prayer. Which priests in your life could use your spiritual support or kind words of encouragement?Pray for priests! // Mytae Carrasco Wallace Click To Tweet