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The Priest on the Roof

Way better than the Elf on the Shelf

After parishioners topped his fundraising goal, Father James Boric pitched a tent on the rooftop of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Severna Park and spent a cold, rainy night there.

To support his parish, Father James Boric, associate pastor at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Severna Park, will do just about anything.
    So on Tuesday, December 6 — with temperatures in the low 40s and nearly constant rain, amounting to three-quarters of an inch — he slept on the school roof. He had, after all, promised — though that promise was made before the day’s weather forecast became clear. But for a man who aspires to be a saint, a promise is a promise. Parishioners had kept their part of the deal, passing his $10,000 goal by $4,000 at the church’s November 12 fundraising gala.
    So he kept his.
    Up went a pup tent and, about 8:30pm, up went Boric. He slept, he says, “in waves,” using his waking time in the tent beneath the elements in reflection, as in a religious retreat.
    “Not every place,” he says, “is like this. I’m grateful for the generosity of my parishioners and for their love for the parish school, the parish community and for their priests.”
    The 38-year-old is known for his fervor. Ordained only two years ago, he had a career in writing about financial markets until, he says, “a conversion experience led him away from the riches of the marketplace and into the true riches of the Catholic Church.”
    Of his time on the roof, he says, “It was really just a fun thing to do,” so he didn’t waiver when practical people tried to convince him to wait for better weather. Indeed, he was a bit embarrassed that parishioners made such a big deal about it.
    Even the arrival of police this morning he took in stride. He was on the rooftop greeting school children when the police sirened up, responding to an anonymous report of a jumper.
    Then he climbed down from the roof and into the arms and high-fives of an awed bunch of school kids.