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What’s It Like Being the Wife of a Priest?


Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 11/03/15

A young woman in Ukraine, Olena Malchyn, tells us in CNEWA’s magazine,ONE

At first it was quite challenging. After ordination, my husband was able to spend much less time with our family than before. Once he became a priest he devoted much time in the evenings ministering to youth groups. Also, besides his pastoral work during the day he lectured at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Kiev, and accumulated administrative responsibilities as a vice chancellor of the Archeparchy of Kiev. At that time I felt quite stressed because I had to take care of two young children who did not see their father much; he would leave early in the morning and would come back late at night. I would say that this is the main role of a priest’s wife — to understand and to share her husband’s priestly and family obligations. You have to be ready to support your husband in his ministry and to be ready to go with him wherever the church sends him. In central Ukraine, in comparison to the western regions of the country, the priest’s wife traditionally does not enjoy any special social status. Thus, her reputation is built solely by her work and by daily interaction with people around her. Personally, I am not involved on a regular basis in any parish-centered ministry. I help in areas where my help is most useful. For example, I take care of organizational work on youth pilgrimages — planning routes, resolving logistical issues. I also accompany the youth during these pilgrimages and help them to see the beauty of the Christian way of life. I think ideally a priest’s wife should be a model Christian. She needs to know church teaching, must be able to convey it to others, and be able to lead by example… …I would advise a young woman planning to marry a priest to listen well to what your heart tells you and prepare yourself for the life of service. It is a life of modesty, suffering, love and ministry to others, but one that nonetheless gives a lot of fulfillment and brings true joy into your life.

There’s much morehere.God bless her and all women who are married to clergy. They are the unsung heroines of the church!

Photo: John E. Kozar / CNEWA

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