Posts Tagged ‘Stories’

The Villiage Priest

Friday, March 11th, 2011

 

 

The Village Priest

By Michael Cheiron

Although born poor in a small village and raised by his mother Frank had much potential.  His father passed away while Frank was still young and he did not leave much for his family.  His mother made many sacrifices to enable Frank to have a good education and cultural skills.  Frank had a great life ahead of him as he was warm, compassionate and very smart with a fun almost child like sense of humor.  Being good looking added to his popularity and his already charismatic personality.  He was at the top of his class at school and preparing for the university when he felt called to the priesthood.  The mother was thrilled to have her son enter the church and study to be a parish priest.  The young mans path was set.

He did very well at the seminar and all of his teachers remarked at how well he performed in his academic studies.  He was once again at the top of the class.  His knowledge of religious studies and history grew every day and all the priests acknowledged that he would most likely be a Cardinal someday, maybe even Pope.  So much potential and such a compassionate and fun young man.  He took the name Father Frances and life was good.  He was so full of life and energy and vowed to bring that energy into all aspects of his ministry.

Upon graduation he was so well thought of and had so many recommendations, that instead of starting off in a tiny church or helping an older priest, he was given his own church in a nice village.  He was very successful at his post and all the villagers agreed that the were lucky to have such an exceptional young priest. He established a strong relationship with his superior, Bishop Andrews and  the Bishop  agreed to mentor him so that he could achieve his goals of advancing through he levels of the priesthood.  They became very close friends and confidants.

He was loved by all of his congregation and especially a young redheaded woman named Celia.  Celia loved Father Frances from the moment she saw him and he, try as he might to ignore her, felt a pull at his heart strings when she was around.  She helped at the church on a regular basis, mostly to be close to Frank.

As time went on they became a very effective team.  She brought out the child in him and he the maturity in her.  It seemed for both of them that this was a wonderful friendship that would last a lifetime.  It would have, however, one day they realized they were in love and their forbidden romance started.  They were careful not to let anyone know that their relationship had moved from friends to more than  that. This was a comfortable relationship for both of them until the day that Celia came to Frank and told him that she was with child.

Father Frances was shocked.  How did this happen?  How did he allow himself to get into such a relationship in the first place. It would ruin his chances of advancement within the priesthood.  He went to his mentor Bishop Andrews, confessed his transgression and asked what he should do.  The Bishop told him that it was understandable that at his age he could be tempted and had fallen into this trap.  He suggested that Frank had two choices.  The first was to leave the priesthood and marry the young Celia, but he must realize that this would be the end of his path in the priesthood.  The second was to break off the relationship and find a way to be rid of her and the unborn child within her womb, forever.  Frank was devastated.  Such hard choices.  He loved Celia and yet he loved being a priest, the church and his potential more.

After careful though and prayer, he decided to take the second option.  He devised a plan to be rid of Celia and the unborn child all in one act.  As they had often met at night, in secrecy, by the cliffs near the village to walk together where no one would see them.  He invited her to meet him one last time.  Celia not realizing there was anything wrong, gladly kept the rendezvous.  It only took a quick move and a strong arm and she was over the cliffs in a flash.  Ensuring himself that no one had seen the dastardly act, he returned to his church.

The next morning the body was discovered at the bottom of the cliffs on the rocks where the ocean met the shore.  Her body was brought back to the village and a fine funeral was prepared for her and the unborn child that no one else but Frank knew about.  Frank conducted the mass and the matter was closed.  All agreed that it was such a tragic accident.  Some wondered what she had been doing out on the cliffs at night, but the Priest was above any suspicion.

Frank, however, was a changed man.  No one noticed at first, but over time they realized that the warm compassionate side of father Frank had been hardened and the fun childlike sense of humor was no longer to be found.  He devoted himself to his studies and his career in the Priesthood.  His mentor never asked about it again and the issue was just as dead as Celia.

The young priest attained his goals and with each step up the ladder he became a little more callous and a little more distant from his flock.  He became distant and withdrawn.  Although reaching his goals, he was not a happy man.  All the praises of his superiors and his advancement to Bishop and eventually Archbishop did not give him the satisfaction he hoped for.  He blamed Celia for creating the situation whereby he had to take such drastic action and his mentor for suggesting it.  His peers, associates , those he mentored and the nuns saw the archbishop withdraw more and more, but could do nothing to help.

He thought on several occasions that he too would like to die, but to make that happen would be a mortal sin and he kept it just that, a thought.  He became even more of a recluse and eventually a very bitter old man.  The young compassionate, loving and fun priest had become a ghost of what he once was and what he inspired to be.  The more he withdrew, the more others withdrew from him.  He became an embittered and lonely old man.  And that is the way he died.  Or, maybe he died those many years ago on the top of those cliffs on the fateful night.