“Being a priest is a hand in the glove for me.”
Fr. Stash Dailey is involved in many different ministries in his first assignment as Parochial Vicar at Worthington St. Michael.
Serving in the parish with Pastor, Fr. Richard Pendolphi and retired priest, Fr. Carmen Arcuri, Fr. Dailey is chaplain of the Knights of Columbus and St. Vincent de Paul. He provides special help and guidance as a chaplain and priest representative for the Respect Life Committee and Bethesda Healing Ministry. He visits parishioners at Riverside Hospital every week for the sacrament of the Anointing of the sick and offers Mass at a nursing home once a month. He also makes rounds anointing residents at nursing homes in the area.
One of Fr. Dailey’s main priorities is to be present to the school children at St. Michael’s. Fr. Dailey teaches in the homerooms and also teaches 8th grade religion as they are preparing for Confirmation and for high school. It was in grade school that his vocation to the priesthood was initially realized and so it is in the school he finds a great opportunity to help others realize their vocation.
“I love teaching the children and being present for recess and lunch. Kids love having a priest involved in their kickball games, and let’s just say I am always up to the challenge” said Fr. Dailey.
Fr. Dailey also teaches Religious Education on Tuesday and Sunday evenings. Sunday evenings, he invites high school kids from the area, including Watterson, St. Charles, and Worthington, to attend a study session geared to their age group where they discuss a variety of topics such as Our Lady and prayer. He is working with the parish to establish a high school holy hour Wed. evenings from 8-9. In addition, he enjoys visiting the high schools in the early morning, bringing them breakfast, and getting to know the kids and their concerns.
When asked how he balances the ministries with administrative paperwork, Fr. Dailey explains that “the priority is always the needs of the people, but I can see in doing the paperwork that it benefits people and therefore I can do it.”
Fr. Dailey enjoys the variety of responsibilities in a parish. Fr. Dailey preaches about Confession often and makes himself available to parishioners at any time for confession and for counseling. “People will not go unless it is both preached and then offered, the focus of the individual priest is noticed by what he preaches with his words and his actions.”
“Confession is a source of great consolation to me and I am willing to spend as much time as needed in the confessional. In hearing confessions one is reminded of the humility that is needed, people don’t want the man who is the priest, they want Christ working through the priest. The only thing that takes priority over Confession is the need of someone on their deathbed,” said Fr. Dailey.
Newly ordained priests anticipate those times when they are summoned to anoint someone in the middle of the night. “I would say that the first emergency call in the middle of the night for a new priest is like the bell going off for a fireman. You always wonder when the next call will come and it usually happens for me early in the morning at 3 or 4 a.m.—and you hurry to get there,” said Fr. Dailey.
Fr. Dailey also enjoys the counseling aspects of the priesthood. “My door is always. I work with individuals, couples and young people searching for direction in their lives. If I am not in the school, I am available for counseling. The number of young people actively discerning a vocation to priesthood or religious life is amazing. Perhaps this is one of the most exciting aspects of the priesthood thus far, helping others find what I have found.”
When asked about keeping prayer time first with his busy schedule, Fr. Dailey says that “it is very easy at St. Michael with the Adoration Chapel. I rise and pray early in the morning, but I can stop by and visit the Blessed Sacrament throughout the day. If I have an open half hour, I will be in the chapel. Or even just walking by the doorway that leads to the Blessed Sacrament reminds me to pray,” said Fr. Dailey.
Fr. Dailey feels blessed to work in a parish with two other priests. They eat meals and pray Vespers together three nights a week. “That was one of my concerns leaving seminary. I didn’t want to lose the sense of community and prayer.”
His advice to seminarians? “You can’t give what you don’t have. Through prayer, you will develop a deep love for the Church, for God, and the ability to ask Him how you can best serve Him. The Church is in another age of reform, a much needed reform. Her priests must be active agents of this reform through their own holiness which is sustained through prayer, prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and with Our Lady.”
His advice to those discerning the priesthood is “the struggle to find one’s vocation will eventually surface and the Church rejoices in whatever state in life He calls you to. When you walk into a house, you know it is a home, but sometimes you can’t describe exactly why you know that. This is how the priesthood is for me – a home.”
“What better time to be a priest – to defend the Church, make Christ present in times of death, or in baptism, to guard the gateway to Eternal Life, to help usher in and usher out,” said Fr. Dailey.
“You find Christ in the present and if I can give advice, a smile, His body, and be a well of love to people, that is what I try to do.”