Continuing our series, comes the following: “How often do priests get to travel?”
I guess it depends, really, on the priest’s interests, but on the whole I think priests tend to travel somewhat frequently. One of the perks of being a pastor is that there are tour companies that specialize in organizing pilgrimages to various sites around the world: Rome, Israel, Lourdes, Fatima, Ireland, etc. Often for these parish trips, the priest/pastor is invited to attend to bring a spiritual dimension to the journey, to make it more than just a vacation.
Here in Cincinnati, priests get a fair amount of vacation time, but there is a limited amount of time that the pastor is allowed to miss from his parish on weekends, which I think should be obvious.
As part of his yearly requirements, every priest is required by canon law to make a yearly retreat. I’ve used this opportunity to visit different monasteries or retreat houses in surrounding states, which has been a plus for me spiritually. We also get a week’s time for ‘professional development,’ which this year has been very much focused on the new missal implementation.
As Vocation Director, I likely travel a bit more than most of my brother priests. In two years, I put roughly 40,000 miles on my car, mostly in western Ohio. That’s quite a few trips up and back on I-75!