Whether you are personally discerning a call to the priesthood, have a friend or family member who is doing so, or simply admire your own parish priest, you may wonder what does a Catholic priest do every day? In reality, the answer is probably something different each day for different priests.
There really is no typical day for a Catholic priest. The life of a priest can be busy, demanding, but ultimately very rewarding and fulfilling. Basic to the ministry of any priest is preaching the Word of God, celebrating the sacraments, and being available to God’s people. Each day priests will spend their time teaching and shepherding their parishioners through their spiritual life. Exactly how this is done varies depending on the role of the priest.
Whether a parish priest, or a priest serving a hospital, school, correctional facility, or in an administrative role with their Diocese, common to each priest is the daily celebration of Holy Mass, praying the Liturgy of the Hours, and personal prayer. The celebration of the sacraments, particularly the Sacrament of the Eucharist at daily Mass, is central to the life of a priest and his ministry.
Similarly, priests likely spend time each day preparing for and celebrating the sacraments of Reconciliation, Baptism, Anointing of the Sick, and Marriage for their parishioners. But beyond celebrating the sacraments, a priest’s service will include visiting parishioners in the hospital or nursing facilities, counseling those who are in need, being active in different parish ministries, and participating in the administration of the parish.
As part of their pastoral care, priests will oftentimes work with groups of elderly, with teen or young adult groups, and with parents and families to help solidify and grow their parishioners spiritual life. This often results in priests being called upon to listen to people’s most personal joys and sorrows, which requires stamina, compassion, and spiritual maturity. Likewise, priests may choose to take the initiative to promote works of charity and justice within their community.
While nothing about the daily life of a priest is typical, it is a busy, challenging, and fulfilling life to serve as a shepherd for God’s people.