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Praised be Jesus Christ!

I can’t believe that it is already August and school starts back up in just a few more days! The summer has flown by as has this whole last year. I was ordained last year on May 23rd and began here at Blessed Sacrament a few weeks later, on July 1st. Over the course of this last year, I have learned and grown a lot and now that I have been through the cycle of an entire year as a priest, I feel even more gratitude for God’s calling me to the priesthood.

One of the questions that I have received most frequently in regards to being a priest is: “What is your favorite part of being a priest?” That’s a difficult question to answer, since there are so many different aspects of the priesthood. It’s like asking: “What’s your favorite part of being a parent?” and “What’s your favorite part of being married?” and “What’s your favorite part of your career?” and “What’s your favorite part of your faith?” all rolled into one question!

My favorite part of the priesthood is celebrating the Sacraments, particularly the Mass and confessions. I love celebrating the Mass because from the time I was a little kid I knew I wanted to share Christ with others, and there is simply no better way to share Christ then to actually physically give Him to His people. There is nothing else in the entire universe like pronouncing the words of consecration and holding a piece of bread in your hands as it is converted into the Body of Christ. Before I was ordained, I heard several priests attempt to describe that moment and after listening to them I thought that I had some idea of what it must be like; but after having celebrated Mass, I now realize that there simply is no way to understand what it feels like unless you experience it yourself.

But perhaps the greatest surprise and the place where I have experienced God’s love and mercy most powerfully and tangibly at work is in the Sacrament of Confession. I thought that I loved the Sacrament of Confession before I was ordained, because it is a place where I have personally received God’s love and healing; but I never imagined the scale of Mercy that is poured out in that Sacrament which has made me love it even more. There have been many days where I leave the confessional in awe of the way God works to reconcile souls to himself who have experienced pain, isolation, confusion, anger, and who carry deep wounds-- sometimes for decades, and who leave the confessional as a whole new person. What a privilege to be God’s instrument when that happens! Please continue to pray for Fr. Jirak and myself and for all priests as we strive to be the instruments in God’s hands.

In Christ through Mary,

Fr. Curtis Hecker

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