‘The word ‘diary’, used to describe these jottings, is a bit of a misnomer. Usually a diary is a private document, written for the author alone. It’s a way for writing to yourself and for yourself, not usually something to be shared with others.
This ‘diary’ is different in that it’s not so much a diary as such but a series of reflections on incidents and experiences, particular encounters which have survived in memory the often limited and repetitive experiences of parish life.
During the course of almost half a century of priesting, I’ve had seven different appointments, most of which were to rural parishes in Mayo and Sligo. While my irregular efforts to keep a regular diary – or at one point even to embrace the journaling experience – never really survived more than a few weeks at a time, I took to noting and mulling over fragments on experiences, parishioners and priest-colleagues, a potpourri of incidents that led to a series of musings on parish life.
What follows are ruminations and sometimes reveries, musings on the bits and pieces of a priest’s life, a ‘diary’ of sorts of a country priest- including, let me emphasise, the adoption of a number of fictional personae in order to assume a variety of imagined characters.
Names, including place-names, have been changed, situations camouflaged, analogous experiences conflated and occasionally embellished in order to ensure that an appropriate privacy is respected’.