A Hyphenated Priest?

What’s a “hyphenated priest”?

One of the reasons I became a Jesuit was because I knew that I probably wouldn’t be happy mostly just working at a parish (I worked on a parish staff as a lay director of youth and young adult ministry before joining the Jesuits, so I already knew a little bit about it).  I wanted to have the freedom and the opportunity to also do other things as a priest.  Such opportunities, unfortunately, are becoming less available to diocesan priests, because of the decline in vocations to the priesthood.

So “hyphenated” priest is just a fancy way of describing a priest whose vocation involves several other types of ministry beyond the sacramental.  A priest who does other “stuff.”

America 51611 CoverIn my case, that does and has meant many things.  I identify as a student-priest, a professor-priest, and a writer-priest.  There are probably other hyphenates that I could use, but these are primary among what I call my “vocations within my vocation” as a Jesuit and a priest.  It can be tiring to be doing all these other things in addition to my normal “priestly” duties like saying Mass, administering the Sacraments, etc., but I love it!  Even if, sometimes, my students don’t! 😉

(The photo is a picture of me and my students which appeared on the cover of America magazine a couple of years ago).