Pastor’s Page – Life as Priest

As far as I know, I am the first priest assigned to Christ the King Church alone. US annual ordinations bottomed out in 2005 at under 400, then climbed to 500 in 2019, and are now declining again. The trend is unlikely to reverse any time soon. Perhaps a small part of the problem is that young men are not aware of what priests do. Occasionally I’ll share a bit of my experience in this space.

In the first twelve weeks of the fall, I averaged five appointments a week. I’m defining an appointment as a private meeting with a parishioner or two. I didn’t include Masses and other liturgies, classes, and meetings with staff and leadership. Roughly half of the meetings are related to upcoming weddings. The other half vary widely.

To eliminate the back and forth of looking for meeting dates with engaged couples, I began using in May. I set up my schedule on and those who wish to meet with me choose a 30- or 60-minute window. I’m sure some of you use it, too. I had a second reason for using it – making myself more available because people can now make an appointment at any time online rather than calling the office during business hours.

For the first time, I’m making the link public. This year we’re distributing a “Christmas flyer” instead of a free Catholic book. The double-sided flyer includes several steps of Christian spirituality, a four-line summary of the Good News of Jesus Christ, and my Calendly link. We’ll distribute over a thousand flyers, most of them to Catholics we see only infrequently. I’m expecting that many people who have felt distant from the Church will use the link to make an appointment. I even offer Jersey Java as an alternative location for those who might feel more comfortable meeting off the church campus.

Priests meet people in a variety of circumstances, but often in large groups like baptisms, weddings, and funerals and ministry meetings. Small groups – even one-on-one – can be a more powerful connection or reconnection with the Church. Even with fewer priests, it’s important to make the time for such opportunities.