I Don’t Want to Get Married: Confessions of a Celibate Priest

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By Matt Janeczko, OFM Cap.

Author’s Note: I wrote this last evening; folks don’t read blog posts at 11:00 pm on a Sunday night, so I saved it for today.

It’s 10:46 pm on a Sunday evening:  I just got off the phone with a parishioner who has no family. I gave the hospital my number as an emergency contact, just in case.  Somehow, they gave her my number.  And she called.  A few times.

A girlfriend from college got married today.  I saw the pictures on Facebook.  She looked so blessedly and beautifully happy, surrounded by family and friends, smiling in the arms of her husband.  I smiled.

I worked my way from one end of Yonkers this afternoon to the upper reaches of Westchester County on communion calls.

I’m tired, I’m worried about a Mass of the Holy Spirit at which I need to preside at a local high school tomorrow.  Somewhere around and between visiting the parishioner mentioned in the first paragraph, and celebrating the Mass in the previous sentence, I need to make sure my lessons for my freshman religion class are in order for the rest of the week.

Once I’m done with that, I’ll attend a CYO coaches’ meeting and start sketching out my homily for next Sunday.

At some point, I figure, it will be most appropriate for me to take care of the large stack of dirty laundry sitting in the corner of my room.

Oh: and in the midst of all this, I’ll be praying.  For the person I met in the confessional, for the parishioner who despairs for employment, for the single mother and her child, for the long-time parish secretary retiring this week.  And a lot more.  At a certain point in these prayers, I’ll spiritually (if not physically) shrug my shoulders and ask God to please remember all those people for whom I promised to pray, because I’m simply too human, too weak to remember.

I’ll go to bed alone tonight.  I’ll do that every night.  And you know, I hate to break it to all of the enlightened folks who tell me I’m wrong, crazy, or broken, but I’m quite satisfied this way.  I’m a celibate cleric, you see, and I’m in love: in love with the poor and the parish and the buildings and the Eucharist and the dying and the living.  The list could go on and on.  My heart is filled to capacity: I couldn’t fit only one person into my heart, precisely because I have so many people in there right now.

This post is wildly immature and shortsighted: perhaps.  Or maybe it’s no different than a love letter that one writes to his bride.  The only thing is that in my case her name is the Church – the Poor, Suffering, Beautiful, Maddening, Gorgeous People of God.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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10 thoughts on “I Don’t Want to Get Married: Confessions of a Celibate Priest”

  1. It is wonderful when we are happy with our vocation and our state in life! It would be awful if you ‘wanted’ to be married – as that is impossible after you accepted to be ordained deacon and then priest…order of the sacraments and all….

  2. Thank you for this, your parishoners are blessed,,,but so are we who get to read your blog and learn from you here. Thank you, for Loving so much.

  3. Thanks for sharing this. I understand exactly what you are talking about in this post.
    You are “in love with Jesus.” A beautiful thing. That is how I feel about Jesus, too. I choose to remain single because I feel I can serve HIM better and HE fills us with HIS SWEETNESS. Only HE can satisfy. We are blessed to have you at Sacred Heart. You have a holy JOY about you (Jesus, Others, You.) “Taste and See the GOODNESS of the Lord!” We’re praying for you, too, Fr. Matt!

  4. Dear Father,
    If your crazy, so am I but it’s crazy in love. Please be assured of my prayer for you and your ministry! Every day, that’s a promise! Thank you for the post!
    LB Michael (ESCM)

  5. It was so nice to run into your post. God bless you. I am a man with SSA and have been celibate for almost fifteen years when I returned to the Church after 25+ years of a very sexual lifestyle. I’ve been having a difficult time but yesterday, I noticed God is helping me. Our Lord and Lady, and St. Joseph, just to name the Holy Family are helping me. May they always protect you and those in your flock.

    With love in Christ,
    Emil

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