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Life of a Priest

The Essentials > Life of a Priest


What does a priest do all day?  |  What different ministries can priests be involved in?  |  Frequently Asked Questions


What Does a Priest Do All Day?

There is no typical day in the life of a priest….every day is different.  That’s one of the things that make priesthood so interesting.  Below are some general categories which describe the activities a priest is involved with on a daily/weekly basis.

Deepening Personal Relationship with God – a critical component to priesthood

Daily Mass
Personal prayer – divine office, scripture reading, spiritual reading, quiet contemplation, spiritual direction, private devotion

Joyful Times – celebrating the life-giving moments in people’s lives
Weddings, baptisms, confirmation, graduations, First Eucharist

Painful Times – walking with people as they carry the cross of Christ
Sickness, death, incarceration, addiction, depression, loneliness, fear, divorce

Ministry of Presence – being available to listen to people
Before and after Masses, email correspondence, in the grocery store, at the gymnasium

Sacramental Moments – times that God works through priests to his people
Celebrating masses, reconciliation, anointing of the sick, witnessing marriages, baptizing babies and adults, confirmation and attending priesthood ordinations

Working with/for the Poor – priests are committed to social justice and serving the poor
Food pantries, soup kitchens, clothing drives, advocacy on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves

Youth – bringing Christ to our youth
Religious education, Catholic schools, youth retreats, attending youth activities (ball games, plays, graduation parties, etc.)

Teaching – about a third of a priest’s day is spent teaching about Christ and his Church, not necessarily in a classroom

Counseling – people turn to priests in times of pain and confusion.  Additionally, priests counsel parishioners preparing to celebrate sacraments

Preparation – priests speak in public on a regular basis; this requires preparation.
Homilies for Mass, school functions, civic events, charity events

Community Involvement – priests are present to the greater community
Civic events, community service projects, board of trustees, ecumenical services, public invocations

Administration – running a parish involves administration
Parish council, finance and school board meetings, staff meetings, goal setting, diocesan committees

Fraternity – priests spend time with other priests
Prayer, social, business

Relaxation – rest and relaxation is part of being a healthy priest
Weekly day off, vacation, down-time with family and friends, hobbies, movies, television, dinner out, reading, listening to music, traveling

Domestic Tasks – priests do this just like everyone else
Cooking, laundry, grocery shopping, house cleaning

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What Different Ministies Can Priests Be Involved In?

The primary work of a diocesan priest in the Diocese of Albany is as a pastor of a parish.  The seed of faith grows in the local parish.  The emphasis of diocesan priesthood is to nurture that seed of faith in the people of God in a parish community.

Within the Albany diocese, there are other ministries that are needed as well:

Canon Lawyers – priests who work in the diocesan tribunal.  Canon Lawyers aid those seeking marriage annulments and advise the bishop on canonical matters.

Hospital Chaplains – priests who work in hospital settings serving the sick and their families.

Prison Chaplains – priests who work part-time in county and state facilities ministering to the incarcerated and prison staff members.

Military Chaplains – priests who serve our men and women in the military (and their families)

Teaching - priests who teach part-time in a high school or college, typically while functioning as a pastor of a parish

Administration – priests who work part-time or full-time in a chancery position (the Church’s business offices)

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