Interviewing a member of the House of Representatives. In their office. On Capitol Hill. Definitely not something most others can say they’ve done! So please, allow me to indulge here a bit and tell you about my experience of meeting Father Pat.
Our team had the unique opportunity to speak with Father Patrick Conroy, SJ, Chaplain to the U.S. House of Representatives. He is the 6oth Chaplain, and in fact, the first ever Jesuit to hold that position. Now before doing any research for the story, I, like most others, didn’t even know there was a Chaplain to the House of Reps. To be honest, I wasn’t even up to snuff in knowing all that a Chaplain does, really. But later when I met with Father Pat, and heard his insight and wit and humility, I realized just how necessary he is, not just in his role as the Chaplain, but more importantly, as a human being, available to others and anchored against the whir and chaos of our American political scene.
What I also noticed in speaking with Father Pat is just how present he is to everyone he meets. I had even brought up earlier in the interview that it must be difficult to stay grounded in this type of fast paced environment, where policies and laws can turn on a dime. And as the American public knows, also morale. But Father Pat stays present, he stays in the moment, always available to hear whatever’s on peoples’ minds.
Time and again in our interview, it was very apparent to me that Father Pat’s role is so vital to this seemingly volatile world of politics. He brought to the interview a sense of comfort, which he doubtlessly brings in speaking with Congressional Members as well. What I really enjoyed about meeting Father Pat was this: that he didn’t see himself as his title or role, but as a team player, a cog working alongside other cogs in the Capitol.
As the new 113th Congress has just begun their year, I can’t help but think Father Pat’s hard at work, meeting with all the new members and making it a point to get to know them. He doesn’t have to, but he wants to. He wants to be there. And in knowing that Father Pat is serving Congressional members, I’m all the more relieved about what’s going on there in Congress. I know that Father Pat is doing what he does best, that is being a man for others, and I’m grateful (and humbled) to have had the privilege of meeting this great human being.
-Molly McVie, IN Network Field Producer