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How to stay holy when you work for the Church


One would think that working at a parish or Catholic school would automatically make one holy.

One would be wrong.

When I worked for a parish for eight years, there were times that my job helped my faith (like getting to genuflect often during work hours as I ran back and forth from the church to the rectory), but most of the time, it just drained it. I spent so much time pouring myself into others' faith experience that my own was lacking. It wasn't obvious at first, because how could I not be holier by working for a parish?!

Over time though, it began to make sense:

  • I often saw the worst side of people - including priests.

  • It was easy to get distracted during personal, spiritual time at the parish because everything reminded me of what was on my to-do list.

  • Going to Mass and being at the parish became associated with work, not rest.

If you work for a parish, at some point you have to face this reality: Tending to others' spiritual needs sometimes exhausts your own.

As we know, this reality doesn't negate the importance of our jobs, but it is likewise important to make sure that we are taking time to also feed ourselves spiritually so that we have something to offer to others.

Here are a few tips I found that helped me be holy while working at a church:

  • Do something "spiritual" just for you. I usually groaned at the thought of spending a single minute more than I had to at the parish where I worked, but every day, I made it a point to go to Adoration after work for five minutes. Those five minutes really helped me to put things into perspective and remember who I was really working for. Take some time each day to do something spiritually-recharging for you: do a Rosary walk at lunch, pray the Liturgy of the Hours, or take advantage of your job and just sit in the quiet, locked church for a few moments before going about your day.

  • Attend Mass somewhere else. This can be hard when you work for your own parish. However, sometimes you just need a break from your job, and going to Mass can end up feeling just as much like work. Attending another parish for Mass every once in a while (or weekly) will allow you to focus on the Mass instead of getting distracted by visual cues that remind you of what you have to do on Monday.

  • Go on a retreat that does not require you to be in charge. Retreats work wonders as spiritual rechargers, and sometimes that retreat high is all you need to get the drive back in your ministry. Just don't volunteer to help with anything while you're there!

  • Offer it up. Not in the harsh, I-don't-care-suck-it-up way, but as in, make your lack of spiritual "me time" an offering. When I worked at the parish, one of my many hats was being the Weekend Coordinator, which basically meant I was the event and ministry coordinator for every weekend Mass. Thus, I often had to sacrifice my own liturgical enjoyment to make others' experience better. So try to look at your position as a sacrifice you are making so that others can have a deeper encounter with Christ.

Now you may be wondering, what does your own holiness have to do with Catholic marketing? The thing is, with marketing, you have to believe in your product. And with Catholic marketing in particular, if you're not living out the faith yourself, your witness will not believable. Your role, as an employee of the Church, is to be a brand advocate for Christ, and you can only do that if your own faith is fed.

So make sure you take time to take care of yourself, too. It is just as vital to your ministry as any other marketing plan.


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