I am a Roman Catholic priest, ordained to the priesthood in 2004. I have been a member of the Legionaries of Christ since 1991, but am now in the process of incardination in the archdiocese of Boston. I am currently the parochial vicar of Holy Family parish in Gloucester, MA.
Parish work is a new experience for me, since in the Legion of Christ my ministry was mostly academic – I spent my 3 years of “apostolic internship” as a teacher in the Legion’s novitiate in Brazil, and from 2001-2010 I taught philosophy (principally, philosophy of science and philosophy of nature) at the Legion’s formation center in Thornwood, NY. It’s one thing to be in a classroom lecturing on Logical Postivism, or giving lessons of Gregorian chant, and another to be officiating at baptisms, weddings, and multiple weekend Masses – or at a hospital bedside, praying with a young couple as the husband cradles his stillborn baby’s body in his arms and silently weeps. Not that the two kinds of ministry are incompatible, but I was used to doing the former, and now and mostly doing the latter. It is a very enriching experience! However, sometimes I do miss the intellectual stimulation of studying and teaching philosophy.
Another novelty of parish life has been to celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite. I did this at least once a month during the year I spent at St. Patrick’s parish in Newburgh, NY (2010-2011), and it is both beautiful and thought-provoking. It seems to me that there is a striking contrast with the Novus Ordo in the ambience and the implicit sense of what the nature of the Mass is (even though on paper the basic theology is all the same). It has me thinking a lot about what the ideal Mass should look like, and what is or is not appropriate in both the EF and the NO. I have a great appreciation for the Novus Ordo as well, and I like what Pope Benedict has said about “mutual enrichment” of the two forms.