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  #1  
Old Oct 5, '04, 8:50 am
mrsarchieleach mrsarchieleach is offline
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Question Being friends with your parish priest - good or not?

I am interested to know what people think about the issue of becoming friends with their parish priest - that is, a relationship closer than the standard parishoner/priest relationship when you mainly see him at Mass or Confession times. Can you and your family be a good or close friend with your parish priest without it being a conflict of interest or without it being for him an issue of favoritism? What about having your priest over to your home for dinners often - how often is too often? Shouldn't he be trying to see as many different parishioners as he is able? Is it ok to meet up with your priest outside of church for meals in general? I am asking this in the context of a family situation - husband and wife, not as a single person. What have others out there experienced in this area? Anyone good friends with their parish priest and if so, how is it handled so as to not have it cause any possible problems like favoritism/conflic of interest? Also, has anyone ever had a priest as their child's godfather?

Thanks and God bless!
  #2  
Old Oct 5, '04, 8:54 am
mercygate mercygate is offline
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Default Re: Being friends with your parish priest - good or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsarchieleach
I am interested to know what people think about the issue of becoming friends with their parish priest - that is, a relationship closer than the standard parishoner/priest relationship when you mainly see him at Mass or Confession times. Can you and your family be a good or close friend with your parish priest without it being a conflict of interest or without it being for him an issue of favoritism? What about having your priest over to your home for dinners often - how often is too often? Shouldn't he be trying to see as many different parishioners as he is able? Is it ok to meet up with your priest outside of church for meals in general? I am asking this in the context of a family situation - husband and wife, not as a single person. What have others out there experienced in this area? Anyone good friends with their parish priest and if so, how is it handled so as to not have it cause any possible problems like favoritism/conflic of interest? Also, has anyone ever had a priest as their child's godfather?

Thanks and God bless!
Discretion is the key. Priests need friends too -- real friends with kids. My daughter's godfather was our parish priest; he was consecrated bishop before she was born and has been the best godfather ever.
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  #3  
Old Oct 5, '04, 12:36 pm
MParedon MParedon is offline
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Default Re: Being friends with your parish priest - good or not?

I agree with the second poster.


I would add though, that you might want to try to balance it out, by going to another priest for confession and having more of the parish working relationship with the deacon and secretary. Just so that there won't be too much stress and undue pressure put on the priest/parishioner relationship.
  #4  
Old Oct 5, '04, 12:38 pm
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pnewton pnewton is offline
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Default Re: Being friends with your parish priest - good or not?

I consider my priest a good friend, even though there are several other parishoners that also would say this. Asking your priest over for dinner is an honor to him. I also occasionally sit down to watch a good football game with my priest. The one thing I never try to do is impose on time restraints when I know he is busy. I also feel mor comfortable going to a neighboring parish for confession.
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Old Oct 5, '04, 12:43 pm
The Barrister The Barrister is offline
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Default Re: Being friends with your parish priest - good or not?

Better than being enemies...
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  #6  
Old Oct 5, '04, 12:46 pm
mrsarchieleach mrsarchieleach is offline
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Default Re: Being friends with your parish priest - good or not?

Dear Mercygate,

Out of curiosity, does your also have a Godmother or is your former parish priest her only Godparent? I know that technically you only need one person but two is more the convention.
  #7  
Old Oct 5, '04, 12:50 pm
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Brendan Brendan is offline
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Default Re: Being friends with your parish priest - good or not?

My wife and I are pretty heavily involved in Marriage Encounter, as is our pastor. Since we engage in a lot of activities together, it would be hard not to consider him a good friend.

I would say though, that he is not my regular confessor (that would be my Spiritual Director)

Come to think of it, my S.D. is also a good friend, a high school buddie
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Old Oct 5, '04, 12:56 pm
ridesawhitehors ridesawhitehors is offline
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Default Re: Being friends with your parish priest - good or not?

This is a very interesting question to me. I have only had one priest since I became a catholic 4 and a half years ago.
I feel my priest is definatly one of my best friends. He has a very unique role in mine and my husbands life so I could never treat him like I do one of our other friends. Because he is unique. Although he is a priest to us first and foremost - we visit him casually, go to dinner or a movie sometime... high school football games, etc... I have even taken our priest horseback trail riding,.. and he is always trying to get us to go skiing.
I do go to him regularily for confession. But I also have another confessor who is anonomous to me who I see occasionally.

We live in a small community, I feel no scandalous ideas surround our friendship. I love him like a dear uncle, but I must emphasize, it is a very unique friendship. He personally gave me one on one instruction while bringing me into the Church, and has guided me as my spiritual advisor.
How could I not call him my close friend?
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  #9  
Old Oct 5, '04, 1:01 pm
mrsarchieleach mrsarchieleach is offline
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Default Re: Being friends with your parish priest - good or not?

Hi everyone!

Thanks for the posts! My husband and I actually do regularly use other neigboring parishes for confession, which I think is a good thing to do for us. I've always thought that it must get lonely at times for priests (despite being busy with work) without being able to come home to a family or having other relatives around or even colleagues nearby (many are far from other priests). I've always thought that priests must like getting invited to a parishioner's home for dinner, as it offers them the opportunity to get to know that family outside of the church setting but also to spend time in someone's home, etc. I'm also sensative to the needs of the entire parish and often feel that I shouldn't ask him over for dinner or whatever because I think it's taking away from someone who might really need his help or counsel. It's a juggling act I suppose. I guess we need to go with what kind of vibes the priest gives us as to what kind of time he has or how close of a friendship he might want beyond the regular priest/parishioner one. I've always been closely involved with church all my life and naturally am active in the church, so I tend to get to know the staff and priests perhaps a bit more than the average parishioner, at least to some extent.

Anyone else?
God bless!
  #10  
Old Oct 5, '04, 1:02 pm
mercygate mercygate is offline
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Default Re: Being friends with your parish priest - good or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsarchieleach
Dear Mercygate,

Out of curiosity, does your also have a Godmother or is your former parish priest her only Godparent? I know that technically you only need one person but two is more the convention.
Yes. She had a godmother who was related to his Excellency. We call him that. Or, "Your Beatitude" or "Your Serenity." Or just "Jim" -- not his real name. He's a good sport -- and as you can see, a VERY close friend. I wouldn't do that with someone who wasn't practically a big brother.
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  #11  
Old Oct 5, '04, 4:05 pm
mrsarchieleach mrsarchieleach is offline
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Smile Re: Being friends with your parish priest - good or not?

Mercygate,

That's really special that you were able to have your former priest and a relative of his as your daughter's Godparents - you must know his family to some extent then, too. When you initially asked him to be a Godparent, did he ever have any reservations for practical reasons, like it showing favoritism or it appearing as a conflict of interest? I'm not sure if you said if he was still your parish priest/at your parish still at the time of your daughter's baptism, hence my question. Did he also baptise your daughter or did you have another priest do that? I suspect that he is a wonderful Godfather - I think many people don't really take the Godparenting role all that seriously - it's more of a title or soemthing that mean birthday/Christmas gifts. I would think that a priest could very well think it wonderful if a parishioner or former parishioner asked them to be a Godparent, seeing as they can't have any children of their own, even if they have nieces or nephews that are fairly close by. I know a priest who loves kids and gravitates to them quite naturally - at some level it must be difficult for them to know that they will never have the opportunity to have their own kids, biologically speaking, not spiritually. Yes, a mighty sacrifice but the priesthood has it's own sweetness, too.

God bless!
  #12  
Old Oct 7, '04, 7:40 am
stellina stellina is offline
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Default Re: Being friends with your parish priest - good or not?

I grew up with this idea. My father's regular golfing partner and childhood friend is a priest, so I've always been used to the idea. My mother also taught at our parish's school, so we had the priests over for dinner on many occasions. In fact, the son of one of her best friends was just ordained - she was his teacher in elementary school & now has to really be conscious of calling him Father!

As some of the others have said, I think it's a matter of maintaining a certain level of respect for their office and understanding their limits, but aside from that, it's a great idea. Our priests need friends now more than ever.
  #13  
Old Oct 7, '04, 7:58 am
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Annunciata Annunciata is offline
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Default Re: Being friends with your parish priest - good or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stellina
...
As some of the others have said, I think it's a matter of maintaining a certain level of respect for their office and understanding their limits, but aside from that, it's a great idea. Our priests need friends now more than ever.
Well said Stellina! Having worked for the Church for many years I have many priests whom I can call friend and always keeping in mind your above quote... Bless you! Annunciata
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Old Oct 7, '04, 11:20 am
mrsarchieleach mrsarchieleach is offline
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Smile Re: Being friends with your parish priest - good or not?

As some of the others have said, I think it's a matter of maintaining a certain level of respect for their office and understanding their limits, but aside from that, it's a great idea. Our priests need friends now more than ever.

Yes, well said above, Stellina. I assume that by limits you mean their workload in terms of time and being, well, different than the laity in terms of their office. Of course they are human and have the same needs and desires, generally speaking ,but yes, they do need friends and I'm sure can get lonely despite often being around people. One can be in a crowded room and still feel lonely. As one priest expressed to me once when he overheard a parishioner exclaim that "Father actually has a sense of humor!" he said, yes, I am a human being. It just goes to show that some people still think of priests as somehow not human or in some other mode of existence than the rest of us. Yes, it's true that they have received a special anointing and calling but they don't cease to be human or somehow loose their personality and former identity.




  #15  
Old Apr 9, '12, 10:53 am
cookie123 cookie123 is offline
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Default Re: Being friends with your parish priest - good or not?

We have a former parish priest close to our family. He prefers spending time with my in laws. They go on vacations frequently, they go to his lakehouse, he spends the night at their home. My husband feels like his parents replaced him with this priest. It has caused many problems..
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