December 11, 2010


Classes are over for the semester. I have one more term paper to go through, fixing and editing, and then it will be time to return library books, recycle and straighten up. It's really one of the joys of the school-based life; that sense of being finished.

One never gets to enjoy that feeling in the parish ministry. A parish is always running. There are individual projects that arrive at completion, but most of the work is continuous and never-ending. It slows down at certain times of the year, like in the middle of the summer and in the last few days before Christmas, but the thing itself never really pauses. It's also true that one gets to feel a little sense of rest and doneness at the end of principal celebrations, but it doesn't last. After the Paschal Triduum there's a great sense of gratitude and relief, but there is almost always a funeral to do on Easter Monday, having been set aside from Saturday or Friday (or even Thursday, when funerals are permitted, but not funeral Masses.) Christmas is a similar thing; the afternoon of Christmas Day is a blessed quiet and relief, but as soon as the office opens on the next first weekday, the new wedding engagements start calling in. (I didn't know this before I was a parish priest, but a lot of people get engaged at Christmas.)

So right now I'm just appreciating the sensation of having finished the semester, and am enjoying all of the little rituals of recycling, filing, and clearing that go with it. Not that there won't be more work to do after another day or two: I've left several mundane projects and errands for the time of the semester break, I have a presentation to prepare for January and a directed reading course for next semester to plan in more detail. And off in the not-so-remote distance is my reading list for comprehensive examination, and (dare I say it) a dissertation proposal to be made.


Suzanne said...

Congrats. Enjoy the rest and rich anticipation of Advent.

for narnia said...

so glad you have that sense of accomplishment of finishing a semester, Fr. C! congratulations! hope you'll now be able to enjoy a peaceful Advent. PAX! ~tara t~