April 24, 2014

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A hunter hot on the heels of the divine fox

The transition from seminary to pastoral ministry can be quite a jolt. The steady ebb and flow of the academic calendar, the immediate gratification of studying, being examined, receiving a grade, the easy collegiality among fellow students: these are hallmarks of seminary life. While in the parish, one hardly ever knows what will come next. True, there's the reality of Sunday coming round every seven days. Ready or not, here it comes! But, in between, you never know. And the variety of activities that will call upon your skills on any given day can be unnerving and overwhelming. A good pastor must be as flexible as a yoga instructor, ready to move from a budget conference to a hospital call to a liturgical planning session. And I'm only scratching the surface. Combine that with the fact that you generally don't know how you're doing till you mess up and the aching loneliness that many pastors feel. Well, it is a big transition.