Deacon James Keating once said in a presentation, all priests must think like married men, not as bachelor. When I heard those words, I was scandalized. How can it be? A priest must see himself as a responsible husband to be a good leader of his community. He said a priest should be proud of himself saying, I am not a bachelor, but rather I am married with the Church. It was hard for me to relate and understand at first; why he was saying those words. After two months being in the university, my mind was enlightened. Indeed, Deacon Keating was so right for what he told us in his presentation. Each and every priest must think like a married man for they are the image of a leader that people are looking up to.
Priests in the parishes are like husbands and dads that protect the Church as their family. If a priest loves his church as his wife and sees the people as his family, there is no doubt that he will lead them as a good husband would. In the New Testament, Christ, the Bridegroom, has sacrificially and lovingly chosen the Church to be His Bride. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25-27). My experience in my pastoral year has been an instrument to help me to understand the meaning of Fatherhood of a priest in his community.
The priest must draw its strength from God and look at himself as a model of its community in good times and bad times. In reality, life of a priest is not always happy and joyful as most people think. However, if Christ is always present in my life, with his help, I will conquer the tough challenges in the life of a priest. As a leader and a person with an image of a father and a husband, the priest becomes an image of Christ to its people leading them to be closer to God, for we are all children of God. God the Father revealed himself in the image of a loving Father who is willing and always ready to receive us in his caring hands. He is the image of love that treats us as his children and at the same time our protector from those who are willing to harm us. Therefore, as I was reflecting on my vocation in my pastoral year, I told myself, “I am no longer a bachelor, but rather a man preparing myself to be a good husband to my bride in which, the mystical body of Christ, the Church.”