In the last two weeks I have been to three conferences, returned from one just in time for our annual parish picnic in honor of our patron, and been visited by friends from UCSD. The week before Fathers’ Day I attended the 35th annual Notre Dame Liturgy Conference: A Day for the Lord: Sign of Contradiction? The conference was an extended reflection on Pope John Paul II’s 1998 apostolic letter Dies Domini, “On Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy”. It was a wonderful occasion to explore how we celebrate Sunday in many dimensions: as sabbath, as fulfillment of the covenant, as expectation of the end-times, and much more. I stayed at a hotel with Kim and Matt Belcher and their 10-month old son, Thomas. It was great to get to spend time with them, see the wonder that is Thomas, and make plans for future projects together. The opportunity to visit Notre Dame for the first time since I left the campus four years ago was also appreciated. I was able to both intentionally visit and accidentally run into faculty, staff, and students whom I came to know while earning my MTS.
Upon returning home, I was able to spend one day with some folks from St. Thomas More learning about the canonical and pastoral practices involved in marriage paperwork in the Diocese of Raleigh from our canon lawyer. The following day I was back on a plane for Washington, DC. I attended an institute “Concerning the Baptized” hosted by the North American Forum on the Catechumenate at Washington Theological Union. This built on the Beginnings and Beyond institute I attended last summer. It was a great chance to learn both from the stellar presenting team as well as from my fellow participants more about the vision of the RCIA in ministering to those who already baptized and come to us seeking reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church. It also gave me chance to meet the editor of Catechumenate, the journal in which was recently published my article suggesting use of the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults (2006) paired to the lectionary. It was a wonderful institute, fun to see again folks I had seen the year before, and loaded with superb food and brief breaks that gave me the opportunity to dive into WTU‘s library.
Michelle picked me up from the airport, after having had to leave after communion of the vigil Mass at which the handbell choir was playing and then we headed back to St. Thomas More for the annual parish picnic. In honor of our patron, whose feast day is celebrated along with John Fischer on June 22, our community celebrates with food, drink, music, rides, etc., on the Saturday closest to June 22. Shortly beforehand, we learned that a fellow student minister alum from UCSD, Rosie Chinea, who is now a campus minister in Albuquerque, was going to be visiting a mutual friend, Roummel Marcia, in Durham. So we got them both to come and join us for the parish celebrations. In addition to having them there, it was great to celebrate as a community. Fortunately Rosie and Roummel were able to work into their schedule coming to spend Sunday dinner with us the following day as well. I am now enjoying what I feel is a much deserved Monday off, continuing my reading of Benedict’s Rule and Coleman’s New Organic Grower.