A great part of being a monk and a priest is being sent out “on mission” to minister to a variety of parishes on the weekend. Sunday morning I departed the Abbey at 6:30am to drive to Hamilton (70 miles), then on to Gallatin (15 more miles) (see map below).
The parishioners at Sacred Heart were very kind and hospitable, though they questioned if I was old enough to be a priest. I appreciate getting to see rural Missouri towns, places that I would probably never see if I were not a monk.
Mary Immaculate in Gallatin is a straight shot down the highway, about fifteen miles. It is another small, but very beautiful church, which was packed with people Sunday morning. I enjoyed visiting with a group of parishioners after Mass.
As a “visiting” or “guest priest,” it is powerful to see how you are immediately welcomed and greeted when coming to a parish even for the first time. The people did not know me initially, but because I am a priest and come to minister to them, they welcome me and are just grateful to have someone to celebrate Eucharist with them. However, oftentimes, their witness of faith and devotion has a far greater impact on me, than I feel as if I have on them. I thank the parishioners for their kindness, faithfulness, and support.