I am in residence at a parish on the westside of Cincinnati with the full-time pastor of that parish. Either in the morning as we catch up on local and national news while sipping coffee or in the evening as we wind down, the conversation turns: ‘What’s up for your next 24 huors?’
Yep, the old cliche comes out: no two days are the same.
For me, and while my situation is somewhat unique in that I am not in a regular parish assignment, I think the principals guiding my day are fairly standard for priests:
1) Mass and other Sacraments. Is there a regularly scheduled parish Mass that day, am I covering somewhere, other needs for Sacraments: Confessions or Anointings, particularly. These are things we obviously can’t hand off to someone else, so they form the core or our day. As part of this, my own personal prayer: Liturgy of the Hours and Holy Hour came to pass, which I usually try to accomplish in the morning prior to starting the day.
2) Meetings and/or appointments: Who am I meeting with that day, either one on one or as a group, what do I need to do in preparation for that meeting yet? How much time will that take? What will potential follow-up things be afterwards, etc? I try to frame things around these questions.
3) What’s coming up? Are there presentations/homilies/lectures, etc. coming up that I need to read and prepare for? These fit into the ‘other’ spaces of my day. In fact, this is what is coming next….
4) meals and whatnot Everything else fits in later.
By the end of the day, I am usually pretty tired, but always have more than enough to keep me going for the next few days at least.
For priests in a parish, things added to the above: usual days to visit the sick and/or homebound, homily prep, visits to school/CCD/PREP, etc. It is certainly not a boring life!