Historically, the NFPC has made major inroads for priests, including regular salaries, benefits, due process, and priests’ personnel boards to name a few. Today NFPC’s focus is on communication: breaking free of the “silos” of parishes and dioceses, reaching out to one another to address new issues facing priests, such as retirement issues, priests’ shortages, and welcoming international priests.
A capstone of this focus on reaching out and discussing issues is our National Convocation of Priests, held this year in Anaheim CA. Fr. Tony feels it is like a ‘family reunion’ of brothers in Christ, truly a highlight of our work (details on our website).
Fr. Tony included a shout out to NFPC Board Member, Fr. Bryan Ernest from Grand Island, NE.
When asked how the laity can help their priests, Fr. Tony said first of all make them a meal; even if the priest enjoys cooking, they often don’t have time. When it comes to the convocation, let your priests know they can leave for a few days and things will be fine; give them permission to get away. He suggests it might also be helpful to take up a collection to help him with costs associated with attending the convocation.
Fr. Tony’s past with the U.S. Navy on a ballistic missile submarine has taught him organization skills and attention to detail, and also that no matter what happens in the parish, it will all work out because: “We’re not launching missiles!” Nobody is going to die; just take a breath.