Monday, April 1, 2013

Being a Catholic Priest's Kid- a guest post

Casey- How has being a Catholic Priest's kid affected/influenced your relationship with God?
Well when we have a question about God or the church we just ask,  that has helped us understand more about our faith and God. We are also in church much more often than other children our age.
My dad makes sure that his example at home reflects his work as a priest. So all in all it has definitely strengthened our faith.

Bear- A very close friend is the son of a Dutch Reformed Church minister (a very conservative Calvinist) in a small Dutch community in a small city. He recalls that growing up, the family had to hide the packs of cards they were playing with whenever a member of the congregation visited. Also that they were watched regularly by the congregation, and their father was criticised for their behaviour. I wonder if the girls also feel the same sorts of expectation?
Yes!!!! Though not quite as severe, we are definitely supposed to be more sociable, helpful, and better behaved than your usual children. For example, when my little brother was five he was at the altar helping my dad as an altar servant. He bent down and fixed his shoe during the homily, and the elderly ladies made sure to scold him afterwards. We also have to gauge people's reactions about certain things, like if we're allowed to wear pants in the house. But many of the parishioners we have known since we moved here ten years ago so they have become part of our extended family.
It is funny, in the old country we get criticized for not watching normal television. They don't want us to be 'too' religious. We walk out of a room that is playing a music video because we are not allowed to watch that, but they think we are crazy. In America, we are too 'liberal' with stuff we watch- remember when some people on the blog got mad at my mom for letting us watch Sound of Music!?
Our mom says "You're in church right now because you are my children, not only because your father is a priest." So, sometimes it is my mom who decides our books, movies or music. 

jen- What is the strangest thing you've learned about as a priest's kid?
First of all, we learn the practical reasons for some of our traditions. In the Byzantine rite, the priest or deacon waves a gold cloth over the consecrated Eucharist in the chalice while we recite the creed. You would think this represents the Holy Spirit's wind/breath, and maybe it does. But first, it was a practical way to keep flies out of the holy cup!
Another thing- when you are a priest's kid, you see all the clergy as normal people no matter how holy they are. We have monks who are friends and they are normal people who tell jokes and smile. Our bishop's mother sent me a yellow stuffed M and M toy that I (Girl 1) slept with for years. 

Fluid Motion & Design- Do you feel any pressure being the child of a priest; and what have you, and the rest of your siblings done to ease whatever pressure may be felt, at times; and have you had to defend your father's vocation?
Yes sometimes we feel pressure to be perfect but it helps to know every one in your church.   Sometimes, depending on the service, we have to cantor an entire Mass in two languages and we make mistakes a lot. Girl 1 - I hide in the bathroom a little bit to "ease the pressure" Girl 2- I talk to my parents about my feelings like a chaplain (my dad's a hospital chaplain)
And answer to your second question- oooooooooh yes!!!!!! and not just about being a Priest's kid, also about being Byzantine. 
We defend our dad's priesthood by trying to explain, but sometimes people will still think we are Orthodox. 

Joey and Caren's Crazy Fam!- Do you have a funny story about being a priest's kid?
Girl 1: Every Wednesday we have the Divine Liturgy at 6:30 pm so all the people have heavy coats on.Well my baby sister had turned on the heater while we were singing and as you know we use a lot of incense. I could see the sweat dripping off peoples noses!!!!!!(especially my dad's)
Girl 2: This really happened to a friend of my dad. When the friend was preparing the altar for mass he had his back to the pews. He knew that the church was empty and he started to sing, "It's time to put on makeup, it's time to light the lights it's time to get things started on the Muppet Mass tonight!" The friend heard a titter and turned around and froze. The church was full of sisters there for a retreat. He hightailed it out of there! 
Here is when Girl 1 worked in the bishop's office- I was a very hard worker (this is one way that we have time with dad- we work with him when we can)
Hevel- Would you prefer if your future husbands entered the priesthood after you are married? Why or why not?
Girl 1:Yes and no, one of the problems about being a Priest's kid is that it is very lonely so I would hate to have my own children feel that. On the other hand, if my kids had a very important theological question, the answer is just a few steps away.
Girl 2: It would totally depend on if it is his vocation as a person. He would definitely have to be a practicing Catholic though, preferably Byzantine.
This is a hard question because we don't know what our lives will be like. 

Sean D-  Do other Roman Catholic children with whom you are acquainted struggle with the fact that your dad is a Priest
Yes. Kids that we have known for years still do not understand that we are CATHOLIC!!!!!!!!!!!!! As we said before, it's very lonely because people cannot put us in a category. We are not one thing or the other. Even if we moved to the old country, we would not fit in there, too.We love Shakespeare, and Harry Potter is cool. Phantom of the Opera rocks and so does Funny Face (that's why it helps to have a sister your own age). We don't fit in with Roman Catholics or Orthodox. Both ignore us as a church so we are ignored as kids too.
But about them not understanding our traditions, they wonder how we can be Catholic when we don't wear a scapular. 

Elisa- Do you have a favorite saint (Latin or Eastern)?
Girl 2: That is rather hard to say. It might be my patron saint Mary Magdalene (Mary of Magdala).
Girl 1: My favorite saint is St. John the Baptist (he is my patron saint), but I also really like Mary of Egypt because she showed great courage to change from her sinful life. Most people do not change, but she did.

Annie- What is your favorite feast day? 
It Is Christmas because we have extended family visits, the music and the ugliness of Halloween is gone and people try to be nicer
We both like the Easter season as well, singing Christ is risen, blessing of the baskets, eating treats on the way home from a late church service. 
Through the loneliness and challenges, we love our tradition and are very proud to be Priest's Daughters!!!!!!


  1. Oh! I have a question that I didn't think of before...

    Hi girls! I liked reading through the questions and responses--thanks for doing this for all of your mom's readers :) especially people like me who are Byzantine and feel similarly to you, with no one understanding where you fit in, in the church--or just thinking you're Orthodox (WRONG!). I became Byzantine after I married my husband (I was raised in the Roman rite) and it's been hard to explain to friends and family why we do this or not that, or why we go to church so much, etc.

    We don't have any children yet, but hope to start our family SOON. My husband wants to become a deacon, but we have to wait a few more years since we haven't been married long enough. I know our children will be raised in a similar environment as you girls and your siblings--being watched verrrrry closely by the older people and have a lot of expectations.

    What do you think is important for Byzantine kids to know and understand about their faith? They will not have first communion and confirmation parties like their other Catholic friends and relatives, and I can imagine they might feel left out. What would have helped you as you were growing up? I know your Mom and Dad have done a good job, so maybe there isn't anything you would add :) Since I don't know any other Byzantine kids, I'm asking you. The few children in our very small parish are still too little to have important discussions like this! Thank you in advance!

    1. Girl 1:Byzantine kids should know as much as possible about there tradition and faith. Things from "why
      don't we wear scapulars?" too "Why is St. Andrew so important?". One of my favorite Byzantine tradition
      is that we have baptism , first communion , and confirmation all at the same time(the whole service revolves around you!!!)My mom also started a tradition that every year on us kids baptism day we have a small party to celebrate our baptism , first communion , and confirmation.

      Girl 2: Its really important to make sure that your kids are proud of their tradition but are open to other people

  2. And a comment to Mom--do you know your posts are showing up as published by "Anne Boyd?"

    1. google plus is doing that- but I want to go back to 'priest's wife'- Anne Boyd is a pseudonym anyways...

    2. I hate this google plus nonsense. It's giving me an aneurysm.

  3. Very interesting girls! It is funny that even though we don't have a priest as a dad, my kids often feel a little like to do, with pressure and loneliness...just because there are a lot of them and we kind of "stick out!" I suppose that it is true that the "greatest minority is the individual" and you will find that where there is friendship, whether someone is Roman, Byzantine, Melkite, Anglican-use or whatever brand of Catholic one is---we are all sinners who must love eachother and are CATHOLIC!!!!
    Keep it up--you are both absolutely beautiful and talented. I am proud of who you are!!!

  4. Thanks, girls! What wonderful, thoughtful, articulate responses! I am the Director of Religious Education in a big Roman Catholic Church. When my older two children were growing up, my office was in the old convent, and our priest was comfortable with me homeschooling the children there, as I worked - so like you, they pretty much lived at church and were involved in so many things. It was such a happy time for us!

    I have five children at home now, but our parish merged with another one, and things changed (including the pastor) so that I can't have my children at work with me.

    What all my kids would relate to is how hard it is to please everyone! Some people think I protect my children too much and don't give them enough freedom; other people would see my daughter with friends at the mall (when she was a senior in High School!), and wonder how I could be so "loose" as to let her just "hang out" with friends. Ah, well! It is a tough fence to walk, sometimes.

    1. Hear, hear! Yes to everything you said. :-)

    2. Louise- do the kids come to the office with you a bit- party time!

  5. As my daughter grows into her role as the priest's kid, it's nice to hear from other kids in her position and see all the pros that can come from being there--like questions can be answered right away. I especially love the part about how you are also your mom's kids. I am definitely into entirely different movies, music, and books than my husband. It's my right to pass all that on to my daughter as well :)!

    1. yes- I do tell my girls that the 'rules' are not only dad's fault- it is mine! ;)

  6. I have so enjoyed getting to learn more about the Eastern Rite churches especially during the Conclave and early in Pope Francis' papacy. Perhaps because we had several associate pastors in recent years who were formerly Anglican priests and married with children (some of them grandchildren) who converted to the Roman Rite, I don't have as many hang-ups about a priest having a family and children as some others may. I think it is so wonderful and important what your mom and now you are doing educating us!

    1. Maybe The Holy Father will make some more Eastern rite cardinals since he has experience with the Byzantines- I hope so!

    2. That would be wonderful! I would so look forward to it. I loved the Via Crucis meditations written by young people under the guidance of Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai. Many lovely reflections and quotes that were new to me. I think Pope Emeritus Benedict started laying those bricks at just the right time and the Holy Spirit is guiding Pope Francis on how to build on them!

  7. I would have enjoyed this more if you hadn't obviously edited it or told them what to say...

    1. I didn't tell them what to say- what do you think is missing? They are 12 and 13 homeschooled kids- so if they sound like me it is because they are forced to be with me all the time

      and if you notice their response to the first commenter- see the typos? I didn't correct anything- even though it is painful to let the errors stand!

    2. and to other readers- I won't ruin my girls' fun by letting them read this not-so-nice comment--- that's me! The control freak! I think 12 and 13 is too young to be hurt by the Internet...

    3. Matushka, thank you for protecting your children from such potentiality for harm.

    4. These girls were not coached in any way. They are balanced and wonderful and heads above other kids their age. They are bi lingual and have seen the third world in real time which adds to this balance. Your comment has no basis in fact and if you ever had the honor of meeting this family you would have a great time.

    5. of course- Grandma would think all of this ;) thanks Mom

  8. Priest's mother in lawApril 6, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    The girls did a wonderful job of being so truthful regarding their life. I'm so proud of them and you. This world is hard enough to walk through and they have the added cross of being good witnesses for Christ. Girls you were so honest and I am so proud of you.

  9. Thanks for your responses.
    Happy Easter to you and your family! :)

  10. I am catholc born , baptized, and raised , catolc schools, it is a beautiful religion catholc only tiffany lewis


thanks for commenting! (comments on old posts are moderated)