Friday, July 10, 2009

"So what do you do all day?"

St. Theresa parish in South Lake Tahoe is much poorer than you might think. Like the rest of the local economy, it depends heavily on tourism for its income. The church seats about 700 and last weekend every Mass was standing room only due to the high number of visitors. I attended all of the weekend Masses so I could have an opportunity to meet as many of the people as I could. I ran into several people from my home parish who were there on vacation, and a few people from Nativity parish in Menlo Park (where many of us St. Patrick's seminarians go for Sunday Mass during the school year.)

The parochial administrator here, Fr. Ron Marcelo, is an awesome guy and a very good priest. Tomorrow I have to assist him with 22 infant baptisms, one in English and 21 in Spanish. Fr. Marcelo was ordained for the religious community of Verbum Dei in Spain. His adopted Spanish family came to visit us for a few days so for a while the official language of the rectory was Spanish. I speak it slowly and with a thick accent so I need all the practice I can get! Castillian Spanish is a little different from Latin American Spanish - think of it like the differences between British English and American English.

Two pastors emiriti of St. Theresa live in the area: Fr. John Grace and Monsignor Murrough Wallace. They assist with saying Mass and doing weddings and funerals when Fr. Marcelo is away or otherwise occupied. A pastor (or parochial administrator - the difference is a techincal one in canon law that I'm not totally familiar with) has a lot of day-to-day administrative work that must get done. Fr. Ron said that as a priest, you can be as busy as you want to be. The trap to avoid here - and I myself frequently fall into it - is burying yourself in work to the point where your spiritual life suffers. Every priest I've ever talked to has always given me the same piece of advice: a healthy spiritual life is essential. If you don't have a strong relationship with Jesus and Mary, then parish life will break you, period.

Two daily Masses are offered here, one at 8 am and one at 12 pm. I'm trying to organize a more formal rosary group to meet after the 8 am Mass. It can be difficult though because many of the people who stick around afterward to pray it with me are tourists who are leaving soon. Nonetheless, it was wonderful to meet them all and I hope that they will keep me and all of us seminarians in their prayers. I guess I should have told them about this blog. We always like to see the traffic up :)

1 comment:

Miss Heather Barrett, OP said...

I always love reading about what life is like for priests and seminarians. I guess it helps me to understand better, and thus to pray better for you all! Thank you for sharing.

I hope the 22 baptisms went well! Thinking about all those new little Catholics makes me happy! :D