Who Would Be a Priest?

Fr. Leo Donnelly
September 1, 2011

On July 23, 2011, The Irish Times asked, “Who would be a priest?” Well, I am one, of some 50 years standing, so the question is relevant today.

Catholic priesthood does not lift you out of or above human life, human nature, and for this we can thank God.

In my book people are the most fascinating aspect of all creation. Relating to people in everyday life you are guaranteed never a dull moment. You will have some great moments, just as you will also have some most miserable ones, but you´ll never know a dull moment in your life.

My own experience as a priest working with and for people who were mostly at the bottom of the social and economic scale has been a tremendously enriching experience. I know scores of clergy, faithful to their people, who would say, “Amen,” to that.

The ordinary, pastoral priest has always stood with his people, and it is out of this that there derived the mutual love and respect that fostered vocations. It is also true that such priests felt, feel, the same frustration that so many lay people are today feeling.

Again as one who grew up in this ambiance, lived through it and is now retired in it I weep for my people. So long a priest, I have never regarded other vocations and professions as damnable no matter how many instances of recalcitrant there are in any profession, and I have come across my share, yet there are many, many more, good people out there fulfilling their role in life.

They allow each profession to stand well above the scrum.

Fr. Leo Donnelly lives and works in Lima, Peru.