Especially in this day, priests need to care for themselves

St. Luke Institute president, Father David Songy, OFM Cap. writes in this day of widespread self-centeredness and mindful of the steadily decreasing clergy/parishioner ratio — many priests today would consider a serious reflection on self-care to be overly indulgent.

In an essay, appearing in OSV Newsweekly (Dec. 1, 2016) Fr. Songy, a clinical psychologist, cites Jesus as the “exemplar par excellence of self-denial, dedication, humility and Christian virtue, also taught by example the importance of healthy self-care.”

In addition to teaching the disciples the importance of prayer, Jesus also told them to rest after they had returned from a journey of announcing the Gospel: “The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’ People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat” (Mk 6:30-31).

Fr. Songy goes on to offer suggestions on managing stress and puts forward a self-care inventory that examines six areas helpful to leading a healthy ministerial priesthood, i.e. physical health, emotional health, social support, ministerial environment, spiritual health and leisure.

For the entire essay, click here.