Monday, March 6, 2023


This is the second part of my post below about wearing my clerical garb while flying back and forth this past weekend.

After my story in the post below, there is more!!!!

As I mentioned, I was talking to people non-stop from start to finish, all because of my collar and not just religious stuff, just nice conversation.

After my encounter with the distraught father because of his son’s addiction, I moved to another area in the waiting area.

A woman with three small children, eventually came up to me and started a conversation, she was standing I was seated. She has three young children, and one in the oven. She told me before these children, she lost seven children through miscarriages. Finally the doctors figured out what this was happening and she has three and a half now. She says she’ll have as many children as God will give her.

She went to Steubenville and she and I know people in common. She knows people I know in Augusta! After the lengthy conversation, she asked if she could pray for me.

Now, before I go on, I must confess that after speaking to the distraught father, I thought to myself what missed opportunities to minister to strangers that I have had over the years by not wearing my clerics while flying. No one talks to me in my lay clothes. And in my clerics, I am not initiating conversation, it’s the others who are!

Thus this evangelical woman, wife, mother prayed over me publicly and thanks God that I was willing to wear my clerics that helped her to see me and then take the initiative to come and talk to me. She prayed for the people in need I had shared with her. After her prayed, I asked if I could bless her unborn child and I did. This all happened in a spontaneous way, was real, not contrived and I think the packed waiting area understood that.

Then I had a long conversation with an elderly couple from a ranch in Billings, Montana. What stories they had and dealing recently with 45 degrees below zero and how much they love their ranch!

Then on my flight from Atlanta to Savannah, I sat next to a middle age man from Albany, NY and we had a great conversation. He had a strong Catholic education and I think he does practice his faith. But we spoke about a bunch of things. 

As I was looking for my seat, a flight attendant greeted me friendly and said, I am glad we have a priest on this flight, and man sitting down, said yes and I am glad to see you in your collar. You can’t make this stuff up!

I have to say that the flights were the best part of my Stewardship retreat for me!!!


Jerome Merwick said...

I was going to comment on your previous post, but I'll do it here.

1. Thank you for doing this. It IS dangerous sometimes, because a lot of priests have reported angry or aggressive behavior in airports or other venues from people who presume that all priests are corrupt or sex abusers. Hating Catholics is enjoying a resurgence as a popular recreation.

2. I have often seen priests I knew wearing lay clothes in restaurants or elsewhere and I almost felt like I should pretend I didn't see them, because I felt like they were trying to go "incognito". I know it must be exhausting to have to be the "guy" for everyone seeking help or approval.

3. I read a book written by Bishop Sheen's niece. She moved to New York City and lived with him part of the year so that she could attend a good Catholic school. She said that everywhere he went, friends and strangers alike (mostly strangers) came up to him and talked to him--one of the hazards of celebrity is that everyone "feels" like they know you. Anyway, he had tremendous patience and treated everyone he came in contact with as if they and their concerns were of the utmost importance. That's a huge sacrifice, but it's also a great witness. I cannot begin to express how grateful I am when I see priests and nuns (and I don't mean the lay-clothing variety) wearing their religious garb in public. I thank them and I thank you.

Paul said...

Last year I was watching a Taylor Marshall YouTube clip in which he was interviewing a traditional Catholic priest (I forget his name) ….anyway, this priest said something I found interesting and significant. He said having worn a Roman collar and cassock etc hundreds of times on streets in New York City the negative comments that came his way were 99% never from ordinary secular people, Protestants, Jews, Muslims etc but close to 99% of the time the negative reactions and comments came from “liberal, progressive” Catholics.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I have, in the past, feared negative comments and stares because of the sex abuse scandal. I know some priests have, but I can’t say I have. I have had mean looks from parishioners who know me and bad word because I something I said, did or omitted. Sometimes think we can project on to others what we think they are thinking when it just may be indifference.

William said...

A Franciscan, OFM, friend was ordered by his superior not to wear his habit in public. And they bemoan the vocations dearth. Deny the Lord and He'll deny you.

TJM said...

The good sisters should take the hint too and revert to wearing a veil at least with a suitable dress. Witness is important and clearly identifiable clothes is the most direct way to do it. Many modern nuns either look like a bag lady or like a well dressed and stylish laywoman.

I think normal people find it comforting when they see a priest or nun in a public place

John said...

Thank you for your witnesz Father.