Well, I’m back from retreat! It was a wonderful time away from the normal routine of ministry, work, and the world. This is the second year that I’ve committed to fully disconnecting while on retreat – no phone, not social media, no keeping up on email or news. 10/10 – I highly recommend it! For one thing, it is quite honestly the only time that I am guaranteed the freedom to do such a thing! But it also brings home how much time I spend browsing the internet, reading social media & the news, and otherwise distracting myself from quiet time, prayer, and sitting with my own thoughts & feelings. Though the retreat is over, minimizing or even eliminating some of those distractions is clearly something worth doing on an ongoing basis.
Another lesson I am learning – albeit painfully slowly – is that I probably shouldn’t stack the weekend I return with events! My goodness, but did we have a lot going on Saturday and Sunday. Meeting with the pastoral council, parishioners, and then confessions & Mass on Saturday. In addition to the normal Sunday schedule, we had a signature drive for I-2081, a volunteer invitation for Saint Vincent de Paul’s Christmas basket program, a bake sale from the Women’s Group, AND four baptisms!
Is it too soon to go on retreat again? 😏
But seriously, it is wonderful to be back and fully into the swing of things. And while there is a lot of busy-ness going on, I would love for you to mark your calendars for some lighter fare: Advent movie nights! Starting on Friday, December 1st, I’m hoping to have several movie nights leading up to Christmas – I’m looking at December 1st, 15th, and 22nd (the 8th is a holy day of obligation, so no movies that night!). There will be a poll for the last two movie nights, but I can already tell you that December 1st’s movie will be Last Holiday – easily the best Christmas movie to come out in a long time. Consider coming to one (or all!) of the movie nights – even if its not a retreat, we can all use a little time away from the crazy of the world.
In the meantime, rest assured of my prayers. May you have a wonderful week.
yours in Christ,
November 13 – Today is the memorial of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, founder of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In 1887 she asked permission to be a missionary to China – but was instead encouraged to go to the United States. Although her work started in New York, she ended up founding 67 (!) missionary institutions to serve the sick & poor. Read more about her at the Cabrini National Shrine website.
November 15 – What makes a saint a ‘great’? Though that has never been formally defined, Saint Albert the Great (whose memorial is today) was so well regarded that even before his death, he was so considered! Named by Pope Pius XII as patron of enthusiasts of the natural sciences, he helped affirm the truth that there is no contradiction to be found in faith and science. Aleteia has a lovely article about him (with links to further reading, for those interested).
November 16 – To the surprise of no one, any saint who is consistently portrayed with cats is going to pique my curiosity a little more than normal. Today’s memorial of Saint Gertrude (also called ‘the great’, interestingly enough) celebrates a saint whose devotion to Christ led her to great personal fervor. As for the cats reference, well, read about that (and her more important characteristics) at US Catholic’s website.
November 18 – Following up the more significant dedication last week, today is the memorial of the Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter & Paul. These two basilicas, though lesser in stature to the Lateran Basilica, are nonetheless important in their own right. It is fitting that the first pope and the greatest apostle – both martyred in Rome – should each have a basilica commemorating their faith in Christ. Read about this memorial and the basilicas it honors at UCatholic.