FAQs on My Priesthood

In this article, I provide answers to the questions I get asked the most. If your question is not here, feel free to reach out to me via the contact form on the home page.

FAQs on My Priesthood

1. Who are you?

I am a Catholic priest. On who a Catholic priest is, check out this article.

2. How should we address you?

You can call me Father Kenny.

3. Why are you called ‘Father’?

Indeed, it is customary to address priests, in different languages, as 'Father' (e.g., Padre, Mon Père, Romo). By calling me ‘Father,’ you are actually doing me a huge favor. You are reminding me that, as a priest, I am called—as all fathers are—to be a provider. I was ordained, indeed, to nourish the faithful with the sacraments and the Word of God as well as to generate new children of God through baptism.

More on why we call priests ‘Father,’ click here.

4. Which religious order do you belong to? What title should we put behind your name?

I am a diocesan priest. Therefore, I do not belong to any religious order and no religious title (such as O.S.B., S.J., O.P., O.F.M., or O.Carm.) goes behind my name.

5. Who are diocesan priests?

Simply speaking, diocesan priests are priests who dedicate their life to serving a particular diocese (c. 265). A diocese, in turn, is “a portion of the people of God which is entrusted to a bishop for him to shepherd with the cooperation of the presbyterium,” namely, the college of priests (c. 369).

In my case, I am a priest of the Diocese of Surabaya. In other words, I collaborate with my bishop, H.E. Vincentius Sutikno Wisaksono, in taking care of the Catholic faithful residing in the territory of this diocese. This does not mean, however, that my ministry is limited to the confines of this diocese. My priesthood, rather, is “for all peoples and all times, and it knows no limits of blood, nationality or time” (PO, 10).

Altomonte priests group picture
Photo courtesy of Collegio Sacerdotale Altomonte (Rome)

6. How are diocesan priests different from religious order priests?

They are similar insofar as they are priests, yet—in many other ways—they are very different. I will make a comparison between them in the following table.

Diocesan priests …Religious order priests …live in the middle of the worldlive separated from the world (PC, 5) in a religious house (c. 665)are also called “secular priests” (from the Latin saeculum, which means ‘the present world’)are also called “regular priests” (from the Latin regulae, which means ‘rules’)made promisesmade vows to live the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience (c. 573 §1)may own personal property and have to pay taxesdo not own personal property (i.e., everything belongs to the community)belong to a presbyterium (a body of priests) under the authority of a bishopbelong to a community under the authority of a superior (e.g., an abbot)

7. What promises do diocesan priests have to make?

bishop catholic Vincent Sutikno Wisaksono
H.E. Vincentius Sutikno, Bishop of Surabaya. Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Surabaya

Diocesan priests made three promises on the day of their diaconal ordination. They promised

  • to live as celibates for the sake of the kingdom of heaven;
  • to celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours (also known as the Breviary or the Divine Office) for God’s people and for the entire world; and
  • to obey their bishop and his successors.

8. As a priest, what do you do all day?

I am currently pursuing a licentiate degree in Dogmatic Theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. Even though I spend most of my time studying, the most important thing in my day is the celebration of the Holy Mass. Then, I dedicate a good amount of time to reciting the Liturgy of the Hours, doing my mental prayers, and reading spiritual books. In addition, I hear confessions and give homilies occasionally.

To see my typical day when I worked at a parish in 2019–2020, check out this video.

elevation of host during holy mass eucharist
Photo courtesy of St. Yakobus (Surabaya)

9. Why do you wear peculiar clothing?

Unless I am at home or doing an activity that calls for a specific type of clothing (e.g., skiing, swimming, excursions), I wear black cassock or black/white clerical shirt for many reasons. I will list only four here.

  • Firstly, because clerical clothing reminds me that I am a priest and should behave as such.
  • Secondly, because it tells other people that I am a priest. This is especially helpful when somebody needs my service (e.g., the sacrament of confession, a blessing). In any case, at least my clothing may remind people of God.
  • Thirdly, clerical clothing encourages me to live modestly. Even though secular priests do not make a promise of poverty, they are expected to live a simple life. Clerical clothing serves as a symbol of this simplicity.
  • Lastly, because it is the law. The Code of Canon Law establishes that “[c]lerics are to wear suitable ecclesiastical garb according to the norms issued by the conference of bishops and according to legitimate local customs” (c. 284).

More on the history of clerical clothing, read this article.