No Man is an Island
From time to time I receive questions about where we
(Fr. Jarred and I) live and why we live there. There are
also a bunch of other surrounding questions like, do you
like living in Fryburg. One time someone asked me what
my favorite parish is. When I asked why they were asking,
he responded, “I assumed that since you lived in Fryburg,
they were your favorite.” Basically I receive a lot of
questions about our living situation.
When I was assigned to these parishes on May 21, 2016, I
visited the parishes and was presented with two different
places to live. I could have lived at a duplex that St.
Joseph owned in Wapakoneta or at the St. John rectory.
I couldn’t live at the Immaculate Conception rectory
because it was occupied. I prayed about these options
for a couple days.
When given the opportunity, I want to live near a
tabernacle where Jesus is reserved in the Blessed
Sacrament. So I chose to live at the Fryburg rectory. This
gives me the opportunity to stop in and say hello to Our
Lord first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening.
When Fr. Jarred was assigned to our parishes in May
of 2018 we had to figure out the living situation again.
There were two decisions to make: do we live in the
same rectory or separately and which rectory. We
decided to live together at the Fryburg rectory. The
priesthood can be a lonely experience. I struggled
mightily in the transition from living in a seminary with 80
people to living by myself for the first time. There should
be a brotherhood that exists amongst priests and living
together helps to cultivate the brotherhood.
There are a handful of reasons that I think living alone for
priests is less than ideal. I found myself becoming very
selfish. I didn’t have to consider anyone else’s thoughts
and it could all be about what I wanted. I didn’t make
any sacrifices in my living arrangement. Also there are
certain bad habits that can fester when living alone.
There is a possibility of going into depression or being
isolated. Also priests have struggled with being alcoholics
or workaholics. While this is still possible when living with
others, hopefully it reduces the risk.
I have been inspired recently by three of my classmates
who are pastors at Cincinnati parishes. They decided
to live together in one of the rectories and then drive
to their parishes. Each of them has a challenging
assignment for one reason or another. The brotherhood
and comradery which they have formed has sustained
them in their priesthood. They are a great example of
friendship and brotherhood.
I think this serves as a reminder that none of us are an
island. We all need other people in life and we were
made for relationships. Our hearts were written for a
relationship with God and friendship with others. The
normal place that these human relationships occur is in
marriage, but some of us aren’t married; we are celibate,
divorced, widowed, or single. All of us need the joy,
consolation, and challenge of friendship.
I love sharing a rectory with Fr. Jarred. It challenges me in
generosity and helps to sustain our brotherhood. Please
continue to pray for us and for any parishioners who are
lonely, isolated, or depressed.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Sean Wilson