New House Chaplain Interviewed

Nancy Haught of the Religion News Service via HuffPo chatted with new House chaplain Patrick Conroy, SJ.

Two things of note:

How is a chaplain’s role different from that of a pastor?

As chaplain, I won’t be responsible for the religious life of the people working on Capitol Hill, how they practice their faith in their respective congregations. A chaplain is more like a counselor.

So you won’t pray before a session in the name of Jesus?

I never pray in the name of Jesus — except when I’m doing something Catholic — saying Mass, for example.

I read online that the U.S. House chaplain earns more than $167,000 a year. Is that right?

That’s in the ballpark.

What will you do with your paycheck?

Jesuit communities charge a per diem. In Washington, D.C., it might be $50 a day. I’ll pay that. And I’ll keep enough for my working budget and the rest will go to my province. The Jesuits paid for my education. The Jesuits pay for my health care, for my housing, for my transportation when I need it.

Pewsitter, natch, zeroes in on “I never pray in the name of Jesus.” But the paycheck is something striking, don’t you think?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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