I’m Q, a female. I’m Roman Catholic and I’m suppressing and repressing my emotions for a priest whom we will call X.

First Meeting, almost a year ago: A few notes after the opening song, X and I locked gaze where I felt embarrassed that I looked away and shifted my gaze at the image of Mother Mary in front of the altar. As X delivered his homily, he would glance at me every now and then and noticing that I wasn’t comfortable with it, he delivered the remainder of his homily with his eyes either cast down or closed. At the end of the mass, parishioners lined up to shake X’s hand. When my turn came, he looked away, withdrew his hand and patted me on the forehead instead. It would be a few more months before I approach him again.

In the next meetings, X and I would do the eye courtship thing with no one daring to hold the gaze.

Four months after the first meeting, something probably got the better of us. X decided to hold his gaze and I gazed back. We were eye to eye for not shorter than five seconds. Then he stopped at the middle of his homily, looked away, groped for words before he could continue. This happened again on the same mass during consecration. At this point, the embarrassment transformed into guilty feelings on my part. But still, something in me refused to acknowledge that X was looking at me and I caused him to buckle.

In the succeeding couple of weeks, we practised custody of the eyes. Glances minimized. Everything under control.

A month after the first uh-oh moment, I went to mass and I could feel that X, like me, was having a hard time practising custody of the eyes. At The Great Amen, we locked eyes and X raised his eyebrows to acknowledge my presence. I was so shocked I felt it was painted all over my face. Seeing how shocked I was, X looked away immediately and acknowledged the presence of another parishioner. I sensed he was embarrassed and sad about my reaction that I decided to approach him after mass to shake his hand and greet him. When I did, his hand was ice cold and he shook my hand while he was looking down, as he slightly shook his head.

I didn’t see X again until a month or so after that. When I saw him again, he openly glanced at me and held eye contact. Needless to say, he would lose thread of the mass and either stop or say the wrong words. This happened almost every time I attended mass with him being the celebrant. I felt guilty, but no longer that embarrassed. I thought it was cute, but a little scary. I noticed that he was warm to everyone, too, that I decided to start approaching him after mass to shake his hand. He welcomed it and shook my hand, while suppressing a smile.

There’s this memory with X I cherish. I attended one First Friday Mass and X was the celebrant. As he was about to deliver the Good News, he was suppressing his smile that it seemed puzzling for most of the parishioners. When he delivered his homily, he would glance at me every now and then and he would smile. It felt good afterwards that I also smiled with my head bowed during the Apostle’s Creed. When I looked at X during Prayers of the Faithful, he was smiling, too. After mass, I approached X and shook his hand. He shook mine, too, and he boldly squeezed it, rubbed his thumb against the back of my hand, and held on to it for a couple of seconds. It was raining hard that night that most parishioners were at the church doorstep, waiting for the rain to let out. X went out of the church and eased his way among the crowd to stand beside me. I struck a conversation by offering him my umbrella but he said nothing. He just stood there silently, but I caught him taking a quick glimpse at me every now and then.

I wrote the above story a few months ago. When is no longer important.

A lot of things happened to me after writing that, but it’s good that I delayed the publishing. I would also like to thank Fr. Daniel for not forcing me to publish.
Where are we now, X and I, after all those months?

The first thing is, there is no “we”. And I am not bitter about it. I will never find out if it was a case of mutual attraction or not, and I don’t need to. Sure, there are now more memories to cherish and smile about – wonderful, teenage-crush memories with X as we got a little comfortable with each other a few months after I first wrote that, not to mention this wonderful feeling I have for him that I have come to accept over time.

So what am I writing for?

I just want to share that we can feel something and not be guilty about it by not doing anything about it. Just accept it for what it is and not think about whether it’s being reciprocated or not, or even without the certainty that the other party feels the same way, too. I’m sure most of us will say that he probably has feelings for me, and sometimes I can’t help but consider that somehow he likes me as a man desires a woman, but truth is, we will not really find out unless he tells me or I ask him. But that will not happen. It’s not for me to know and that’s okay. He will not tell me because, aside from the fact that he has no chance, I know and feel how committed he is to his vocation and ministry that even if he might be feeling something, he, too, would not do anything about it.
And isn’t this the most beautiful thing in this world? To know what you must do for God in response to His immeasurable love even if it entails getting used to a cycle of death and resurrection – dying a little by forgoing something your heart wants and being reborn every time you feel so happy that you are in love, and yet making the same choice as you did when you decided to keep your faith?

While most of women here write sad stories about getting into relationships with priests and then having their heart broken, I hope you have a room for my story.

In this relationship, did you ever have some private space to talk and show your emotions for each other?

No private space to show emotions except after masses where I approach him to shake his hand. Often, he would squeeze my hand or hold on to it, especially when no one else was in line. Sometimes I squeeze back and when he holds on to my hand, I never let go. But that’s it.

We were given chances to talk but I just kept things business-like and left after the purpose was served.

We all know that eyes do ‘talk’, but how can you be sure about his real feelings?

As I’ve mentioned, I will never know if it was a case of mutual attraction and I don’t exactly know what you meant by being sure about his real feelings. Maybe eyes do talk, but how can I be so assuming when I haven’t even observed how he looks at other ladies in the other masses he celebrates. Rule #1. Until he says anything otherwise, those gestures were done out of compassion.

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