For the last 20 years or so, the Church has been heavily focused on the New Evangelization. There have been new ministries, new religious orders, new media, new programs, and new art all created for the purpose of bringing the Gospel and our Faith to the world as it is now. Decades into this project, it is time we start looking back and asking the question: how is it going? Tackling this question means taking an honest look at where we are at now, how we arrived at this point, and what we can do to positively impact the Church and her mission to the world.
Most priests, I imagine, would tell you that they are not reactive, that they are thoughtful in their day, that they pursue the most meaningful things, that they are developing themselves and the responsibilities to which they are assigned. That they have a more or less active prayer life, that they eat well, more or less, and that they have, more or less, meaningful relationships which are not ministry related. Furthermore, those priests are committed to care for their parish. They want to be present to their people, many of the priests do. They want to share the love of Jesus in the world.
Life for new associate pastors can be crazy. Not only are they adjusting to a new public life as a priest, they are meeting hundreds if not thousands of new people, trying to figure out the workflow of the parish, learning how to follow the guidance of their pastor, administering the Sacraments, and trying to be fully present each step along the way. It can quickly become overwhelming. Take for example, the story of one young priest and a demanding pastor.