Practicing what I’m going to say in my head over and over, yet still stumbling through the words.
No, this isn’t a story about the time I finally got the guts to ask out the woman who would eventually become my wife (side note: she actually asked me out), this is a story about me walking out of Mass with the intention of asking the priest if he’d like to hang out some time.
I exit the pew, kneel in the direction of the Tabernacle, and slowly make my way out the back door thinking to myself that an offer of something simple is probably best.
“Do you like mac and cheese and chicken fingers?”
No, that’s no good.
“Do you guys drink beer or is that a no-no?”
Stop it, Tommy … this shouldn’t be so hard!
The moment of truth comes and as I shake Father’s hand, I suddenly feel like Ralphie when he finally meets Santa Claus in A Christmas Story. I shake his hand and stare blankly as he asks, “Did you like the homily?” I just shake my head as an affirmation and walk off to the minivan.
Another missed opportunity! Another situation where I let my social anxiety get the best of me instead of sucking it up and asking if he’d like to hang out!
What’s wrong with me? What’s so hard about asking a priest to hang out?!
In The Catholic Hipster Handbook, Fr. Kyle Schnippel shares exactly why it’s important for priests to hangout with us and for us to hangout with them:
“But now, as with many priests, I’m a little ways away from my family and do not get to see them as often as I would like; so I lean on other friends to fill some of that need to be with people and to find the joy that comes from walking with others on their paths of life. Plus, again, as with many priests these days, I live alone and face the trials of ministering to two (or more) parish communities. There are unique stresses that get placed on us; and this is where it becomes important for the priest to have a wide variety of friends and acquaintances.”
Our priests need our prayers, most definitely, but they also need us to engage in a relationship with them. They need to share the journey, the feelings, the struggles, and to walk with us as a way of bringing all of us a fulfillment that we’re all so badly in need of.
So, get to know your priest, and … if you can muster the courage … ask him if he’d like to hang out.
It’ll do you both a lot of good!
Copyright 2017 Tommy Tighe