How has being a Catholic Priest's kid affected/influenced your relationship with God?
Because I have never not been a priest kid it is a little difficult to say, but I think that it has brought me closer to God. I am in constant contact with faith-based things, so God is never far from my thoughts.
I would say yes. My actions reflect on my father, and my dad is well known enough in our community that there is always a chance that the person I am speaking with knows him, either through the hospital or the church. Not that I would ever misbehave… ahem…. We are very involved in my father’s ministry, so there is a pressure there to live up to him. Usually it s the old-country parishioners who would report any misbehavior and criticize, but as there are fewer and fewer of these fine people left, it hasn’t happened as much lately.
What is the strangest thing you've learned about as a priest's kid?
Because I am a priest kid I have met very many strange people and have been in many strange situations (like the time a lady let my father know that her son was of a similar age to me and she would be happy to arrange a marriage between us. I was four at the time.) The strangest thing I have learned would have to be
There is pressure there, but I have felt it all my life, so it feels very normal. I can clearly see the value in what my father does so I am never ashamed of who I am. I do explain why it is ok for married men to become priests in the Byzantine tradition to help people out, but I try not to hang out with the kind of people who would attack me on this. If people are hostile about it I refer them to my dad for further explanations and then I leave. The people who are vehemently against the catholic church are difficult to handle sometimes (I usually meet with these people at my community college), and I feel like the ex-Catholics are worst of all. Usually they take the perspective that I am a naïve little girl who will wake up to the real world of science and truth, but then I enjoy flooring them in the next exam. Kindly, of course…. I don’t start religion-based arguements, but if someone else wants to discuss religion I don’t say no. I usually quote Maccabees or Tobit 😉.
Do you have a funny story about being a priest's kid?
Sooooo many…. Many times I laugh at the blank look given by people to whom I tell I am a priest’s kid. They kind of double take and say “but you said you were Catholic…” In Romania it is always very nice because it is usual for the priests to be married. However, the priest families are VIPs, and because we are from America we are seen as very important and rich (they don’t seem to factor in the cultural difference). Whenever we went to our grandparents church in Romania people would help me with my coat, offer their seats, serve me food (I didn’t have to do the clean-up!), it was very fancy.
Being a priest kid also puts me in weird situations. Sometimes when my dad is invited to dinner, we are invited too, but they kind of forget that there are six of us. This has resulted in a Thanksgiving spent inside the kitchen of our host, where the turkey leftovers, no mashed potatoes or stuffing, and one piece of pumpkin pie for me and my 3 siblings were our feast. People just don’t expect us.
If he did, it would mean that I would never be in a position where I would have to forsake my Byzantine traditions, something very important to me. I think hat I am pretty well-equipped to deal with being married to a priest because of my mother and other role models, so it wouldn’t be a shockingly different lifestyle. However, it is a huge commitment. Once a priest, always a priest, and never home on Sundays. There are so many difficulties, but also a huge joy in the vocation of priest family. I definitely want my husband involved in the liturgy, maybe as a deacon or even an acolyte. In other words, I am definitely open to it.
Do Roman Catholic children with whom you are acquainted struggle with the fact that your dad is a priest?
Yes, but luckily my Catholic bubble is pretty well-educated. Most people definitely don’t hold it against me, but it does make events at my house very interesting. I was hosting a high school literature seminar not too long ago, and it was amazing to see my friends try to relate to my dad as a priest and as a normal man, and try not to call him Mr. It can get pretty funny.
All the saints are inspirations to me in different ways, so it is difficult to tie it down. I think it depends on my situation. St Jude is for tests, St Anthony for everything that I lose, St. Mary Magdalene for her powerful conversion and holiness, Mother Mary for pretty much everything, and St. Irene for her virtue are just a few.
What is your favorite feast day?
Easter is just incredible. The excitement is building up all through Lent, and it is such a beautiful Feast. I love the music, the service, the joy, and the symbolism of light. The food is also amazing, and I love how it doesn't end, just keeps on going for forty days, as well as every Sunday. It is the day when I am the most happy that I am Byzantine.