Revealing The Secret Life Of Catholic Priests

In this episode of The Catholic Talk Show, the guys ask Fr. Richard Pagano what it is actually like being a Catholic priest and what some of the challenges and unique aspects of the vocation are that most people don’t realize.

Episode 103:
In this episode, we will discuss:
• How do priests live celibacy faithfully?
• What are the difficult parts of being a priest?
• Which bad habits do priests need to avoid?
• How often do priests go to confession?
• What do priests do on their day off?
• and much more

7 comments on Revealing The Secret Life Of Catholic Priests

  1. Andrea says:

    Hi guys,
    Fr. Rich, thank you for your service to God and his community of people. Your mention that obedience being more difficult than celibacy is something I can understand. It has to be tough for you always to be obedient. Yes, given our human sexual nature which is with us always I never would have believed you if you hadn’t admitted it can be tough being celibate. Interesting about the struggle with intimacy which is a different thing entirely. You have to get real close to people real fast in your work. I like this podcast as in the day in the life of.

    Good question RD about celibacy perhaps being more difficult depending upon the roles assumed as a diocesan priest. I am so glad you fight to take your day off and your annual or bi-annual vacations. An average day or itinerary is based upon priestly assignments as Fr. Rich pointed out. Celebrating Mass, getting school started, administrative needs, ministering to the flock, community meetings, budget meetings, and so on. You mentioned most of your days are 12-16 hours long. Yes, at the end of such a day, if I were you Fr. Rich, I would need to pull all the pieces of myself back together and recap with God and a glass of wine. There are some perks as some home-cooked meals get offered to you by people who want to say thank you. Nice that most of them have been yummy offerings.

    Discernment of someone’s needs vs their wants can be challenging especially against your own personal needs. Healthy food, exercise, friendships are all things Fr. Rich subscribes to. Balancing your spiritual and physical health is a requirement as far as I am concerned too RS. If you don’t take care of yourself you can’t take care of others. Priests have eating habits similar to cops when they find the time to wind down at the end of a day. You have to work at healthy habits. (I don’t have to because I am neither a priest nor a cop.)

    Yes, there are people who are challenging as far as personalities that need to be dealt with. Not everyone is easy to work with and sometimes you can find levels of communication, and other times not. Bottom line you don’t have to like the person you are helping. That is not a prerequisite. Personally, I leave loving everyone to God. He does a much better job at that.

    How Fr. Rich deals with trauma is through sessions with his spiritual director as you can’t deal with it all by yourself. And talking to close friends helps too. Priests see abused children, suicide cases, excruciating deaths, devastating illnesses, broken families, and so on. What messes with Fr. Rich is when people manipulate others and their will and when they are lying and cheating. Fr. Rich urges priests and seminarians to please read Edith Stein’s doctoral dissertation on the problem of empathy. She has helped him a lot.

    Glad to hear that when Fr. Rich is in the secular world he often wears civvies in order to have relaxed conversations with people before he identifies himself and his vocation. When he is out and about in his priestly garb he is acknowledged formally. People are less relaxed around him.

    Vinny D. was so cute about his question on transubstantiation and whether you can feel the change in your fingers, Fr. Rich. There are Eucharistic miracles throughout the world. Yes, I am glad you made a note RS to do a show on this! Then there is the book of Enoch that can be discussed as apocrypha. There seems to be a following for this book. Enoch is mentioned in Genesis and then he just took off in his own book that is not part of the canonical. Do any of you ever read the apocrypha?

    Fr. Rich says the best thing about being a priest is celebrating the Eucharist. The hardest or most challenging thing is fund raising and I can believe that. I agree that the legacy of priests and seminarians in today’s world will be how they handled the church’s scandals, the church closings, and the pandemic. I am glad for the success of Persona Christi Fr. Rich. I agree that division can divide some and unite others. RS you are right. There are no casual Catholics today as we get challenged from all directions. That can be a good thing. As an analogy I was apolitical until along came Trump.

    Thank you for sharing Fr. Rich and thank you for all that you do.
    Stay safe and healthy guys,

  2. Lost Archivist says:

    I could not find a more discrete place to post this, I wanted to keep this discrete to avoid a flame war, so I was just wondering if you could possibly consider doing an episode on this and why this is wrong, dangerous, and well sinful.


  3. Anne Conroy says:

    How wonderful to have been introduced to Fr. Rich and hear his reflections on his priesthood and it’s ministery. Most enlightening for a 75 year old cradle Catholic.
    So glad I tuned in.
    May God bless your work Father and keep you safe.

  4. Sr. Elizabeth Miles, S. de M. says:

    I want to thank Father Pagano, Mr. DellaCrosse and Mr. Scheel for all that you are doing for God, His Church and His people. Also, in a special way I want to thank Father Pagano, for sharing with us about his life as Jesus’ priest.

    Back in 2004 I read the encyclical “On Devotion to the Sacred Heart” by Pope Pius XII. I read something that led me to have a greater understanding of the gift of the ministerial priesthood in the Catholic Church. It said that, “The three greatest gifts that Christ left for humanity are Himself in the Eucharist, the ministerial priesthood and Mary as our mother. Ever since then my love for the ministerial priesthood, and my love and concern for the men who have been called to be His priests has grown. The priestly vocation is not only a gift for the man who is called but is a gift for all of God’s people. The devil can do nothing to Jesus or Mary, so that is why he is fiercely attacking the ministerial priesthood. Be assured that my Sisters and I have Father Pagano and all his Brother priests in our prayers. I have two questions.

    1. As we know, a Catholic priest represents Christ, but he is not Christ. I have heard priests express that they struggle with feelings of hypocrisy. They realize the sacredness of their priesthood and that they are called to be “In persona Christi”, but they are also aware of their own sinfulness. Is their anything you could share that might help those struggling with these feelings?

    2. Looking back on your seminary formation and your experience in ministering to the sick, the dying and their families, is their anything that you wished you would have known before becoming a priest that might be helpful for seminarians?

    Your Sister in Christ and Mary,
    Sister Elizabeth Miles, S. de M.

  5. Deacon Joseph Bucciilli, PhD says:

    My dear brothers in Christ; After respectfully listening and sincerely appreciating Father’s priestly celibacy reality, I’d be honored to explore my own cleric lifestyle and related family issues after serving as a RC Deacon. TBTG!! Deacon Joseph Clement Buccilli, PhD

  6. Father Rich, thank you for your commitment to your vocation! Thank you, also for being honest about your struggles in your ministry. Thank you for putting yourself out there every day for the Church. I am praying for you, and all priests.

  7. Donna Beedy says:

    Thank you Father Rich for being the best version of you that you can be and for your vocation and everything that you do. Thank you for opening yourself out to everyone especially your daily challenges. I always wonder what the life of a priest consist of. I am praying for you.

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