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  • Writer's pictureFr. Daniel S.J. Scheid SCP

What is Father Dan Thinking 7-30-23

“A damned good one!” has become my stock response when someone asks me the common question, “What kind of priest are you?” Of course, they’re usually wondering if I’m Roman, and often more specifically of the Jesuit sub-species. My reply is good for a laugh, and then I explain that I’m the Episcopal priest at All Saints’ on Waller Street, and if the questioner is still interested, I’ll go on a bit more about Anglo-Catholicism and the similarities and differences we have with Rome. I chuckle inwardly at this question, because in my two-plus years in San Francisco, I have yet to see a Roman priest walking about in a clerical collar, much less a cassock and zucchetto. My nearest Roman colleague, Father George, a Jesuit from St. Agnes, typically wears a sweater. (He’s since moved on, returning to prison chaplaincy that is his first love.)


I’m fortunate that I dress this way, because it invites the question specific to my order of ministry, when, really, the question could be asked of any of us who share in the ministry of the baptized – “What kind of Christian are you?” None of us walk about with our baptismal certificates pinned to our lapels; few have an identifiable aura that marks us as disciples of Jesus; a cross on a necklace chain may be little more than bling otherwise meaningless to the wearer. Decades ago, and in other parts of the country, perhaps, when Christianity was more normative, one could guess with a fair probability of accuracy that a passer-by was a Christian, but certainly no longer, especially in the third decade of the twenty-first century in San Francisco.


How would you answer the question? By looking at you, listening to you, reading what you write, would someone even know to ask?


Jesus tells us what to do to be identified as one of his followers: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).


God’s blessings and peace,


Dan+

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