All In A Day’s Work
Usually I am half shaved when my wakeup alarm sounds. Thank God I have always been a good early riser: a blessing for any priest. Next coffee, when possible. For this I meet with Sr. Briege McKenna OSC my collaborator in the ministry to priests for over thirty years. After this, an hour spent before the Lord. This hour is our insurance policy; for without it our apostolate to the priests would hardly be possible. Then breakfast. After that, a walk and fresh air. Morning prayer with the priests followed by the first lecture. This talk which usually lasts about forty minutes defines the theme of each day: repentance on day one, healing day two, renewal of the grace of priestly ordination day three, and faith day four. This first lecture is followed by an hour of silent interior prayer for everyone. I use this hour to meet with priests individually. After that, a coffee break.
The whole morning leads up to our encounter with Christ in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Normally I give the homily. After lunch in the early hours of the afternoon I make myself available to the priests for individual ministry. Around four o’clock, the second lecture, again lasting over half-an-hour. Evening Prayer is usually about five-thirty. Following the evening meal, there is a break of almost an hour, after which we all gather for a communal praying of the Rosary. Immediately after the Rosary I preside at a prayer service according to the theme of each day: Monday the sacrament of reconciliation, Tuesday healing service, and etcetera. The day ends with the singing of the Salve Regina and more individual ministry.
Because of the repetitive nature of the work, there is always the risk of just going through the motions. The only antidote to this is prayer, a constant calling upon the help of the Holy Spirit and the intercession of Our Lady and the Saints. Early in my priesthood I prayed a little to St. Vincent. Now I pray to him every day that he will obtain for me a “double portion of his spirit” and that the “gates of Paris” may hang securely each time I pass through them.
There are other days, of course, during parish retreats and missions, and weekend spiritual conferences, where the rhythm of the day is determined by preaching, celebrating the sacrament of reconciliation, visiting the sick, meeting people and praying with them individually. These are all works dear to the heart of St. Vincent de Paul which for almost fifty years have given me great happiness and fulfillment in the priesthood.
Fr. Kevin Scallon, CM
Author of “I Will Come Myself”