I Love Being a Priest! The 10 Essential Elements of Priesthood I Discovered

By Fr Richard Heilman on Roman Catholic Man 

After 29 years of this great gift of priesthood, I believe I have heightened my sense of what the essentials are for priesthood …

1) Without a doubt the most essential duty of a priest is to bring Christ, in the Most Holy Eucharist, to our people.

2) A priest must be a man with a deep and rich prayer life. He must also go to Confession at least once a month (Actually, I think priests should go twice a month to be fortified in supernatural grace, since the devil hates priests the most).

3) A priest must offer the “most reverent” Mass as is humanly possible, in that it is due God, and it assists souls in opening to the first and most necessary Gift of the Holy Spirit – Awe and Wonder.

4) A priest must make himself available “all the time” for the Sacrament of Confession. This means doing all he can to make people feel comfortable asking for this Sacrament. A line in the bulletin saying, “Call for an appointment” does not accomplish this, in most cases (People feel they are bothering the priest). This also includes preaching often on the necessity of this Sacrament. We need our people in a “State of Grace!”

5) A priest must be on call 24/7 to the bedside of any person in need of the Anointing of the Sick.

6) A priest must constantly study. Read, read and read some more.

7) A priest must be an effective and inspiring teacher. This is why #6 is so important. You can’t give away what you don’t have. Homilies are the usual format for teaching, but the priest can and should teach in other ways. Mini-courses, bulletin articles, etc.. I have a teaching website that I use for this purpose (romancatholicman.com). My website articles are then automatically posted to our parish website (stmarypb.com).

8) A priest prepares and administers other Sacraments (Baptism, Matrimony) with charity and fervor. A priest also prays for the dead, and prays with and consoles others at funerals.

9) A priest must lead people to discover and love the rich treasury of the Catholic Church … devotion to Mary and the saints, devotional prayers (especially the rosary), sacramentals, etc. Be generous in offering Eucharistic Adoration.

10) A priest must do all that he can (especially through prayer) to exude the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. If these are missing in priests, who people look up to, they will seem unreasonably difficult for others to practice. The priest must make the parish seem like a second home for his parishioners, but that begins by his very persona being a home for others … easily approachable. This makes it easy for people to come to the priest for spiritual counseling.

You’ll notice I did not add the administrative duties that priests cannot avoid … the parish has to pay the bills, etc.. As an addendum, I would simply say that the priest must do everything he can to delegate many of these tasks to others. A highly qualified administrative assistant, a business manager, a building and grounds supervisor, a good finance council and a vital parish council … all go a long way to release the priest from becoming buried in administrative duties that can take away from the “Essential” 10 Elements listed above.

And, my advice to all priests: “Minimize Meetings.” And, make the meetings you “need,” efficient and brief. Before I wised up, I used to clown by using the old latin philosophical proposition “Cogito Ergo Sum” (I think, therefore I am) and I changed it to: “Meet-igo Ergo Sum” (I meet, therefore I am). Many long meetings not only drains priests, but it can throw cold water on the fire of the parishioners, burning them out for more essential activities in the parish.

I love, love, love, love being a priest, especially since I discovered the most essential elements of being a priest. For all of you young men out there. PLEASE consider it … IT’S AWESOME!! 🙂


CP&S Comment – It is no secret that our Catholic priests these days are suffering an increased amount of stress and overwork in many cases. It is indeed also no secret that recently many seminaries were nests of dissent and heterodoxy due to a ‘lavender’, Marxist infiltration, causing the loss of many great future priests who were turned away for being “too orthodox”. Therefore the encouraging signs of a slow but sure ‘cleaning up’ process by the new, more orthodox tendency of the younger generation…. and heroic, faithful priests (like this testimony given by the above author, Fr Heilman) are now giving hope to a lost generation.

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7 Responses to I Love Being a Priest! The 10 Essential Elements of Priesthood I Discovered

  1. goodcatholic2 says:

    Thanks for being a priest god bless

  2. toadspittle says:

    Thanks for being a priest god bless.

  3. Shadon says:

    Fantastic post! This attitude is exactly what is needed. While it is very important to be aware and be made aware of all the high level manouveres that may undermine the traditions of the church – what is even more important IMO is that we have really good priests, who help us embrace the sacraments in the right way. It is so true that the sacrament of confession could be much better promoted and encouraged in many parishes. May more and more priests have this attitude!

  4. johnhenrycn says:

    ” A priest must be an effective and inspiring teacher.”

    It would be nice if all priests were; and yet, I think of one of our locums who’s as dull as dirt. But I value him for other reasons, one being that – even though I don’t consciously listen to what he is saying – the timbre of his voice offers a soothing, ambient background for my thoughts during Mass. Much nicer and more therapeutic than elevator music, but of the same genre all the same.

  5. toadspittle says:

    “After 29 years of this great gift of priesthood, I believe I have heightened my sense of what the essentials are for priesthood …”
    May I suggest, “Essential: 1): To be born male, not female. “
    …Because, if you aren’t – no matter how saintly, or intelligent, or caring, or reasonable, or loving, you are – or however much you have ardently desired during you/r life to be a priest – forget it.
    No priesthood for you, girl. …Wrong sex.

    This seems (to me, at least,) senselessly out of kilter these days – when all,n or nearly all, professions, lifestyles, and vocations are now also open to women.
    Even to Catholic women, such as jockeys, lawyers, doctors, politicians, or soldiers (God help us! If male soldiers were not bad enough! It’s by no means always a good thing.)

    I don’t care personally whether Catholics allow women to be priests or not.
    But I can see that it looks bad, logically. when they don’t – to the objective world.
    And I suspect the Church, via Francis, is on the way to fixing it.

    Anyway, it should be discussed calmly and sensibly….Which I doubt it very often will – at least for a few more years.

    And anyway, anyway , God bless us all. Even the women

  6. The Raven says:

    The “objective world”? Is that a collective term for a bunch of subjective judgments?

    And we’re talking about the priesthood, not a job.

  7. toadspittle says:

    “And we’re talking about the priesthood, not a job.”
    …Just about sums it up.

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