I am a new member of Rent a Priest in Denver, CO...I celebrate between 225 and 250 funerals each year in the Denver Metro area. I have built up this ministry over the past five years, and I now work with over 30 funeral homes in the Denver metro area. (When I left the formal ministry, I worked for four years at the largest Mortuary - Cemetery in Colorado in Family Service. Getting to know the business from the inside out put me on the path to what I do full time now) Most of my services are for families who do not have a minister to assist them. About twenty percent are for Catholics who are fringe or who have been turned down by their pastor. I have found that this is a gift I have, and I plan to continue using it. Yes, the bishop here tried to shut me down. A few letters from my lawyer put a stop to that, and the directors who received the letter from the bishop trying to discredit me have committed to using me even more.
I have found that many funeral directors have a strong dislike for assisting with Catholic funerals because of the demands the priests put on them and their families. A good bit of my income each year comes from praying the rosary with families who have been refused this simple gesture because "father is too busy." One "priest" in particular in this diocese has sent more business my way than I could handle. I guess he just dislikes doing funerals, because every family who goes to him comes away horrified by how they were treated at this most painful time. I end up doing a lot of services because of him!
When the bishop here tried to discredit me last December, I decided to add weddings to my ministry, and to join Rent a Priest. I had always been happy to quietly celebrate my funerals, but I also had to pay my bills. Since the second week of January when I put up a simple web sight offering my services for weddings, I have booked 23 weddings. All but two of these are with Catholic couples who for a number of reasons are unable, or choose not to be married formally in the Church. I had no idea the need was so strong in this area of ministry.
I have found Rent a Priest to be a real blessing also. Knowing that there are so many others out there continuing the work we were ordained to do gives me a real sense of encouragement. Keep up the good work all!