Thursday, 15 December 2011

The Joy of the Priesthood: Fr David Elder

Fr David Elder
Ordained: 29 June 1968
Currently: Parish Priest of St Mary’s and St Michael’s, Garstang

I would have loved to have been married and had a family. I would probably have been a grandfather by now! But God knew better! God knew what would make me really happy and would bring joy to my life – to be a priest – a joy that I know I have not earned or deserve.

I wanted to be a priest from the age of 7 or 8 years and this desire grew into a fierce determination. I was only 18 months off ordination when I realised that I had never asked God: “Do you, Lord, want me to be a priest?” This realisation, that I had never asked God, devastated me. How could I be a priest if it was not what God was planning for me? How could I be a priest if it was only my desire and not God’s? I sobbed bitterly at my arrogance. I asked God in a quiet, humbled voice: “Lord, do you really want me, such a proud, weak person, to be your priest?”

The answer wasn’t direct – but a peace overwhelmed me – and that peace has stayed with me to this day. Yes, he did want me, in all my inadequacy and weak humanity, to be his priest. It is my human-ness as David, that God has clothed me in priesthood. My flawed humanity, called to be a priest, is God’s greatest gift to me – and I never cease to praise and thank him!