I have worked in different parishes and I am currently working in two of our Catholic Schools, and there are constant great expectations and some challenges.
One of my guiding principles in every situation is: What would Christ do if he was here?
As a Chaplain in our schools, I am there for the students, their families and the staff. My key role is to listen to them, teaching them the Christian virtues and the sacraments and living out the Gospel values; and in doing these I hope to be present to them as Jesus would care for those who come to him.
To journey with people and celebrating the sacraments with them and for them makes me happy as a priest.
I have been involved in hospital ministry while in parish ministry. One of my experiences was:
There was a time I was called when someone was dying in the hospital, and that it was imminent. I left everything I was doing and went quickly, as soon as possible, and I did the usual prayer for this dying person, and when I finished, the person opened his eyes and asked of my name and I said Fr. James, and he said, “can I hold your hand and pray for you”. I gave him my right hand and he prayed very well for me. I was very surprised and emotionally moved, however, I was very happy and I started thinking: I came to pray for this dying person, but at the end, the dying person ended up praying for me too. A dying person praying for Fr. James! A lovely thing to behold.
It was a moment that keeps me encouraged in the ministry as a priest, no matter how hard the ministry may be sometimes, it always comes with joy; for being there with anyone or any kind of people, in any responsibility given to me is my joy.