Father Louis Sklar joined the Communications Office to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about priests and the priesthood. See his answers below.
Q. What do priests do on a daily basis?
A. Daily, priests make a promise during Diaconate Ordination to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. Many priests begin their day with this. Daily Mass is most often offered in the morning but in some places, the evening for the benefit of the Faithful. Visiting the dying, the sick, and the homebound is sometimes on a set day of the week. Parishioners who are hospitalized are often visited by their pastor. On the personal side, exercise, personal prayer, a Holy Hour, reading that is spiritual or relaxing, and personal hobbies can make up a weekday in the life of a priest.
Q. Do priests get paid?
A. In the Diocese of Alexandria, the parish priests are paid by the parish that they are assigned to. If they are in special ministries, they could be paid by the ministry they serve or from the Diocese itself.
Q. Do priests pay taxes?
Q. Do priests still bless houses?
A. Yes! Often, when one is built or bought, and a family is moving in. There is a beautiful Blessing of Homes during Epiphany, too!
Q. How do priests normally feel about moving to a new parish?
A. Excited and nervous at the same time. For a newly ordained priest or a first time pastor, it can be intimidating. For an experienced pastor, there is excitement and the desire to meet the people you will serve. No priest enjoys the packing that goes with the move. Saying goodbye to parishioners who have become family is perhaps the most difficult part of moving.
Q. How can parishioners welcome a new priest to a parish?
A. The single greatest gift I’ve received when moving is patience. The struggle to remember names and faces is awkward at first. Invariably, we are going to call someone by the wrong name, but eventually we get the names and faces down.
Q. What do priests bring with them when they move to a new parish?
A. This will depend on the priest. The most obvious will be books and clothes. Some priests own furniture, kitchen supplies, and home decorations. Sometimes we have to transfer our checking accounts, we have to change our Driver’s License and where we vote. Sometimes, if we have a hobby, whatever makes this up is most often brought to the new parish. Some priests bring their own vestments and Liturgical books for Masses.
Q. Where do priests go when they retire?
A. This is up to the individual priest. Some retire and live in family homes they have, others go to retirement communities. Some priests retire and continue to live and serve in a parish if still needed, and with consultation with the bishop.
Q. Do priests get bored or lonely?
A. No! Most of my priest friends and desiring some quiet and solitude at the end of the day! This is also up the individual priest, and his assignment, but our parishes provide us with plenty to do between our times of prayer during the day. Many of our priests are visiting with multiple people each day, and often we have meetings or events in the evening.
Q. What do priests do for fun?
A. Believe it or not, our everyday life as a parish priest is fun! Many of us have hobbies that most people would. We read, write, enjoy hiking, visiting with family and friends. Gathering with other priests for a meal at a rectory or going out. It will be different for each priest just as it would be for each parishioner, but I believe you will find your priest may share some of the same interests as his parishioners.
Q. What do priests all enjoy doing in our diocese?
A. Our Retreat, Convocation, Chrism and Jubilee Mass (combined this year) are events that we all look forward to. In the Diocese of Alexandria, our priests can live up to three hours away from each other, and there is always an excitement shared by our Priests when we are together for a Mass and a meal.