Sunday, May 15, 2011

Time Out of the Bottle

When I was in high school, one of my teachers said that the normal birthdays hadn’t given him any trauma – you know, thirty, or forty. He said the one that drew him up short was twenty-five: a whole quarter century. So, when my own “Big QC” rolled around a decade later, I looked for the trauma, but found only a great dinner with some friends, who gave me a hat (which I still have).

Neither thirty, nor forty have proven to be any more unnerving, either – just opportunities to have fun with folks I like to be with. But this weekend, I have what might be called “the revenge of the QC,” my quarter-century, or twenty-fifth college reunion.

I can’t see what my friend was getting so excited about, really. Twenty-five years is not much at all. At least I keep telling myself that. I mean, look how little I’ve changed since May 1986 (cough). Oh, sure, a lot of other things have changed – the order of the world, for example, the course of the nation, technology both personal and public, and how people live.

Of course fashions have changed too. They say men are most comfortable all their lives wearing the same styles (if not the same clothes) they wore in college. So most of us will be wearing clothes that would have fit in when we were students; fortunately “preppy” never goes out of style. It is a question whether we would fit in to the clothes we wore then, but that’s another story. But I won’t be wearing the same things; I’ll be in my collar.

There’s an interesting prospect, because I didn’t go to a Catholic college, and looking at my classmates bios in the pre-reunion book, I see that banking, investing, managing, some teaching, and lots of lawyering are all to be expected among my fellow alumni, but priesting really isn’t. In fact, I may be the only monsignor my school has ever produced in its 262-year history! They’ll never name a dorm or stadium after me, though – my Annual Fund checks are WAY too small.

I am looking forward to the weekend, though, even though it might seem that I would have little in common with my classmates. On the contrary, I have found that I have more in common with them now than back then – marriages, families, lives, careers, adventures, and other things that surprise us always give me something to talk about with them. And there is always someone who could use some prayers.

Before I leave here for Lexington, though, I have another event to celebrate. Cardinal Baum, for whom I worked for four years as secretary, is celebrating his 60th anniversary of priesthood ordination with a Mass at the Basilica. Now, sixty years – that’s some time. Twenty-five? Not so much. Really it’s not. Young William Baum had to receive a special dispensation to be ordained a priest early, six months before his twenty-fifth birthday – his “big” QC.

Even though I don’t change (stop coughing!) some things around here do. Our new receptionist here at Soubirous Central is Melisa Darby. She’s been at the desk for two whole weeks now, so she’s over the initial shock, and ready to meet you if you just want to stop by and say hello. And next week, our summer seminarian arrives to spend eight weeks here learning about priesting and the parish. His name is Rob Maro, and he’s studying at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary for our Archdiocese. There will be more about him, soon – because time flies. Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and forever.

Monsignor Smith

No comments: