This more in-depth interview is an informative look into how NFPC developed as a national organization for priests, and its current strength in connecting the entire U.S. presbyterate.
After an opening introduction of Father Tony, his four parishes, and his trip to Rome and the events surrounding the Consistory of Cardinals, Father Tony speaks about the beginnings of NFPC.
He discusses that with Vatican II came an emphasis on greater collaboration, resulting in the development of Priests’ Councils. In 1968, NFPC was begun to collaborate and share information between councils. The organization gained a voice with the bishops and NFPC was able to advocate for priests through the Priests’ Councils, including a just wage, a code of ministerial conduct and priest personnel boards.
Fr. Tony continues with how NFPC connects priests today, especially through the National Convocation of Priests. This year’s theme is Forging a Future with Pope Francis. He elaborates on how the Convocation will explore how to put Pope Francis’ words into practice, including presentations on interacting with millennials, immigration and welcoming refugees, and how to live out the priestly ministry.
Priests from all over the country attend, with “a mix of new guys and veterans.” Father Tony described it like a family reunion, seeing brothers, catching up, having some fun and laughter, and learning something. “New guys get to see us be brothers together across diocesan lines.” The convocation is open to all priests; more participants help “this wonderful interchange of ideas.”
Mary said how valuable this organization and convocation is for our priests, for that support and sense of brotherhood, and being in solidarity. Fr. Tony agreed “When you have a priest who knows that he is being valued for being a priest, that he’s not alone, that there is a brother priest out there that can be called, or… our national office…we keep everyone connected.”
“We don’t want priests to feel alone or lonely; there are other priests a phone call or a click away that can be there for our brothers.”
A shout out to Santa Fe’s Fr. Tim Martinez, Board member of NFPC!
More information on the convocation is at nfpc.org. Father Tony especially welcomes newer priests to come to the Convocation to get an introduction to the national presbyterate. He encourages the laity to make sure your parish priest knows about this and encourage him to come to the convocation. Tell him it’s okay for him to leave and that you will handle things so he can be with his brothers.