Friday, May 28, 2010

Home Again, Home Again, Lickity Split

I am glad to report that I have arrived safely back in Rapid City.  Having spent the night in Eagle Butte and shared a lovely conversation with Fr. Matt Falgren, I was able to celebrate Mass for the staff at the rectory there this morning.  Because I spent a summer with these people, it was a great blessing to share the Sacrifice of the Mass with them at the same altar from which I was daily nourished as a deacon.

Speaking of deacons, the Diocese of Sioux Falls now has five new transitional deacons.  I left Wednesday morning intending to make it to Aberdeen by early afternoon.  I arrived in Faith at around 11:30 AM, and celebrated Mass before joining Fr. Marcin for lunch.  After a longer than expected interlude, I departed that fair city around 3:30 PM.  So much for an early arrival.  I reached my destination only minuted before my dear friend, Fr. Gregory Parrott.  As classmate of mine, he and I enjoyed a lengthy dinner and a lively conversation.  That evening, more than any other part of my vacation, was a time of rejuvenation for my ministry.  He and I have spent hours of our lives arguing with one another over major and minor points of theological contention.  Wednesday was different.  There were no arguments, just good-natured and holy conversation.  Both of us, I hope, were edified.  We chatted long into the night before retiring.

Thursday's ordination was beautiful.  The liturgy, other than being somewhat long, was beautiful.  The new deacons were giddy with joy following the Mass, and for a moment, I was caught up in how I felt following my deaconate ordination.  What joy!  I look forward to the day when I will see them stand at the altar as priests of Jesus Christ.

Besides the deacons, I saw a great variety of men with whom I studied at St. Paul Seminary.  It is remarkable to me that one year as a priest has led me to forget so much about what seminary life was like, including the names of some of the men.  It is a bit like summer camp.  One insists that he will always remember those moments shared with the other campers only to realize a few weeks later that he can hardly remember what they look like.  After the ordination, lunch with a friend from school occupied me until leaving for home.  A long and quiet drive always leaves me with plenty of time for reflection.  The following themes seemed to garner the most attention:

1) The Holy Trinity is the central tenet of the Christian faith upon which the rest of the faith rests.  It is also the most difficult of issues to try to address in a homily.  Sunday is Trinity Sunday.  About what shall I preach?  (I am leaning toward a homily on marriage, though the experience of believing without understanding is also attractive.)

2) Holy Mother Church directs us to expend much or our resources in catechizing adults.  Are we going to do a summer educational series?  About what?

3) Is the wind ever going to stop blowing?

4)  Who is going to drive for my summer middle school excursions?  (Does anyone care to volunteer?)

5) How am I going to be better following this vacation?  (The same answers as always - more prayer, less sin, and proper diet and exercise)

6) Is there a reason the car in front of me is driving ten miles per hour under the speed limit?

So, these reflections are not especially profound.  I had hoped they might be having had several days to think about a new post.  The best I can conclude is this:  I am rested, more or less, and ready to get back to work.  It will be good to be back with my people again this weekend.  One of the great rewards of being away is getting to come home.   

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