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Date published: 6/26/2001

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And he has ticket stubs from almost all of the 200 concerts he's attended since high school. In fact, despite the pain of having to leave St. Mary, this music-loving priest is a little excited to be moving to Warrenton this week, where he'll be a short walk from the Nissan Pavilion.

Though Peffley says he's never been unhappy as a priest, some do leave for depression, alcohol problems, and the celibacy issue--though it's less than 5 percent. Generally, priests are "happier and more content with their vocation than the rest of their society," he says, because "with God's grace, all things are possible."

Peffley says celibacy is a breeze--his detachment from the material world allows him to be more attached to God, which in turn makes him more spiritually available to the world. For him, it's freedom.

Despite the general contentment of priests noted by Peffley, there's a nationwide shortage that transcends Catholicism into other denominations. The Arlington Diocese is a rare exception, having enough priests to cover the Northern Virginia area.

Despite the shortages, and unlike other faiths, Catholicism does not allow women to become priests since Christ himself did not designate women to be priests or Apostles. "They are equal, but they have different roles," Peffley explains. Women have three vocations with the church: to be a religious sister, to receive God through the sacrament of marriage, or to live the single Christian life.

"The priesthood is being the role of a servant. People shouldn't look upon it as a power position," he states.

Theological questions, of course, are integral parts of the priesthood--but the daily demands of the calling keep Peffley juggling more than thoughts and torches.

"Some think it might not be very exciting, interesting or fun to be a priest," says Peffley. "Yet it's challenging. There's a lot of variety. In one day I might baptize babies, do a wedding, visit the sick in a hospital or nursing home, do a funeral, say Mass, hear confessions and teach in a school."

Peffley is making the most of his vocation, and he loves it. "The best part of the priesthood is being used by God to make a difference in the lives of other people," he says.

And he's doing it one sale at a time.


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