December 05, 2006

24 / 7

Last night, Monday, I ate at the "Soup Plantation" restaurant.

The cashier noticed my Roman collar.

She asked me, "Are you a minister?"

I answered, "Catholic priest."

She asked, "Where is your church?"

I said, "It's St. Therese on the corner of College and Navajo."

She asked, "Are you a priest on Mondays?"

I said, "Everyday."

She: "Really? You don't have a side job?"

I told her, "Yes, everyday. It's a full time job."

- - - -

I didn't explain to her that not only do Catholic priests conduct worship everyday, but that their ministry involves many other things on a daily basis and even round the clock.

It seems to me she believes clergy work as clergy only at Sunday services, and that they sustain themselves by having other employment on weekdays.


Blogger and also with you said...

When I was a Protestant pastor, I was always amazed at the number of people who thought I did nothing six days a week...and most Catholic priests I know work much harder than I ever did (I know mine do).

I was expecting you to say she say your collar and said, "no soup for you!"

8:03 AM  
Anonymous woHot said...

Fr. Great story! Don't forget to tells us the next one.

I had always wondered what types of questions or conversations are asked of Catholic priests by those who are not Catholic.

You should have also told her about all the "big bucks" you earn.

PS I hope you ate as much as I do when I go there.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

She probably makes more than I do.

Here in San Diego, a priest who is not a pastor earns less than $1500 monthly-- less than a restaurant table waiter. However, we do get room and board in the rectory.

2:36 PM  
Blogger IR said...

A lot of Protestant groups expect their ministers to have day jobs. The idea that they are supported by the congregation is actually offensive to them. I think the idea is that how could the minister appriciate the situation of the believer in such a position. (most of these guys don't have a lot of money though.)

I have also known of Orthodox Priests who have "day jobs". One was a history teacher in my JR highschool.

Fr. Stephanos, I make 750 a month. It's my way of being a penitient. Poverty is good for me.

5:42 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Although priests who are assistant pastors in San Diego are all equal salary-wise, I've come to recognize that they are not equals in the amount of work their respective parishes give them.

Also, salary (regardless of one's "line of work") is relative to the location.

San Diego and Los Angeles are both in coastal Southern California. However, the costs of groceries, gasoline and housing in San Diego is higher than in Los Angeles.

Married clergy in the Orthodox Churches and in the Protestant denominations need to support wives and children. I certainly hope their salaries from their churches are higher than the salaries of Catholic priests.

9:51 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Our hospice chaplain is a unitarian universalist minister. His church is over 2 hours away, he goes there on Sundays.
I find it interesting to talk to him about his faith. There does not seem to be any mention of evil, just God loves everybody.

6:44 AM  
Anonymous Jorge Sanchez said...

It's a shame, but some denominations just don't support their pastors. I know of one Pentecostal pastor who is a janitor in his day job.

Being a janitor is a worthy and dignified profession, but not really in the eyes of the world; it seems being a pastor isn't either.

(BTW Fr. Stephanos, I bought Dare We Hope All Men are Saved on your recommendation. It's great!)

6:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's obviously a difference between Fr. Stephanos and the diocesan priesthood though. Fr. Stephanos has taken a vow of poverty. For the diocesan priesthood though there is no vow of poverty.

As one priest put it (half jokingly) "We don't take a vow of poverty, but working for the Church keeps you poor."

11:34 AM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

While I am on staff helping a diocesan parish my salary is paid directly to my monastery, not to me.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Scott said...


"A religious take the vow of poverty, but the diocesan priest lives it." :)

--From an anonymous diocesan priest that I know.

6:43 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

As a religious order priest working in a diocesan parish, I can tell you from my personal observations that some diocesan priests do not live poverty at all.

Other diocesan priests live it as well as or better than some religious.

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My experience as a former Protestant, is that non-denominational pastors are frequently "tent makers", from Saint Paul's profession; many of the mainline pastors were fully supported by their denominations. The joke was "You keep them humble, Lord, we'll keep them poor." There was also some tension between full timers and tent-makers. Most of the clergy association meetings in my community were scheduled during the day, so most independent pastors were unable to attend. This heightened the loneliness of many of the men as they had little to no connection with other pastors. This also sometimes led to scandal and/or heresy as there was also very little oversight for the independent churches. Terentia

10:05 AM  

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