By Father Brian Morris
As I come upon the end of my third month as a newly ordained priest I have been doing a lot of thinking about what has happened so far. You could call it my first quarterly review! One of the things that many people have been asking me has been what my favorite part of being a priest has been. There are so many great things to choose from! The privilege of celebrating the most Holy Mass in general is awesome. It has been extra special to celebrate Mass for so many parish communities that I served as a seminarian, at Bishop Hendricken and Our Lady of Mercy school where I was once a student, and for many different groups of women religious that I have gotten to know these last few years. I got to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of a couple that is very dear to me and celebrate my first baptism as a priest for a good friend from my childhood. I have also enjoyed getting to know my brother priests better. So many amazing men serve our diocese as priests of Jesus Christ, and being joined to them through the sacrament of Holy Orders is something that still knocks me off my feet when I think about it.
There is of course beginning my ministry as the assistant pastor of St. Luke’s in Barrington. I’ve met so many new people in the parish (don’t ask me too many of their names yet though!) I went up to Maine for a mission trip with 21 high school kids, as well as a dozen chaperones. I have enjoyed getting to know Fr. Bob Hawkins, the pastor here, and learning many good lessons on priesthood from him, with many more lessons to come. I’ve also been able to meet many of the faculty at St. Luke’s school and look forward to teaching there in the Fall. Getting to meet the Knights of Columbus and other groups in the parish has been a great blessing too.
However, my most favorite part of being a new priest has been hearing confessions. There are so many of us that are being held down by the weight of sin, unable to live the truly happy lives that God wishes for us. Being able to be an instrument of God’s mercy, to help lift that burden is such a great privilege and blessing. I was very nervous about approaching this sacrament as the minister. The first confessions I heard were the children at Our Lady of Mercy School, which was such a great blessing and a good way to start and build my confidence in the confessional. God knew that I needed that. We have confessions at St. Luke’s each Saturday which I have been privileged to be the minister of many times so far. But the greatest experience for me was to celebrate the sacrament at the Steubenville East Conference. Over 1400 confessions were heard that weekend, and I had the privilege of contributing to that number. Hearing the confessions of so many young people, and many chaperones, who earnestly just want to grow in a relationship with Christ was amazing.
So, I have been so blessed with many great experiences so far in this first quarter of priesthood. God is so good, and I am so very thankful that He has called me to this life. Please keep me and my brother priests in your prayers as we begin the Fall, especially as we begin to be involved with the schools we are assigned to. Pray that we might bring Christ to those children whose parents have entrusted us with their care. Please also pray for the men who will be returning to seminary this Fall, and especially for the five young men who will be beginning their seminary journey. Pray that they have the strength to see God’s will in their lives, and that if it be His will, that they experience the same joys of priesthood that I have so far.
“Ask the Newly Ordained” features Fathers Brian Morris, Joseph Brice and Stephen Battey — who respond to questions about the faith from Rhode Island Catholic readers. Have a question? Ask the Newly Ordained! Readers may submit questions by sending them to Editor@thericatholic.com.