It is good to be home! Aside from the jet lag, I feel much better now. A little time away was just what the doctor ordered. Deacon Chris Seith is well and rightly ordained – along with his forty classmates. Our Holy Father is hard at work, preaching it to the people. I sort of looked in on him at his Wednesday audience while I was making a little visit in the Vatican offices. I brought back a little something from him for all the kids in religious education and the school; they should know that he is their Pope, not some world celebrity.
Our time in Rome was busy. While it is for all people a place of pilgrimage, a tourist magnet, and a vacation paradise, Rome is also the center of the Church, which happens to be the organization I work for; and it is also my former home. That means there are meetings, errands, and relationships that require my attention when I am there. Not that I am complaining – those meetings, errands, and relationships are some of my favorite things! But When Fr. Knestout and I left Rome, we were both a little breathless from everything we had done while we were there.
So one week in a stone cottage amidst the hedgerows and orchards of Normandy was just what the doctor ordered. Every day had a little excursion, usually history-nerd outings on the trail of the brave souls who participated in D-Day, but they all started slowly, and with Mass; and ended with a leisurely dinner at home. And there I was, out of the habit of cooking, too, with my current housemates here in the rectory shouldering those duties willingly and well. So it was peaceful, which was just what we needed.
I was pleased to find everything in good order upon my return, though I hear you nearly washed away in the rains. The Fall Festival was a success and took all the beautiful weather for itself, apparently. The rectory washing machine waited for me to return (and my two weeks worth of travel laundry to be done!) before it died in a puddle of despair. Father McCabe did not follow through on his threat to begin raising goats in my room. Small favors, for which I am grateful. The jet lag should pass any day now.
On the new and exciting front, this week marks the beginning for our new Director of Music and organist, Mr. Robert Barbarino. He comes to us from the Shrine of the Little Flower – in Baltimore. He is quite accomplished, for one so young. He brings a great deal of experience in parish music, and is eager to continue to develop our superb program of sacred music here. He is beginning to find his way around the place, and has begun to get to know the choirs. I told him they are a good bunch, but warned him about rookie hazing. I think he can handle it!
So, if you have a chance, after Mass this weekend or in coming weeks, stop by the organ console (shiny and new!) and welcome Rob to the parish. The singers and musicians are at the heart of our worship and prayer, which strengthens our union with one another as it deepens our communion with God. Let him know that, though there are many other places that are delightful to visit, this as a great place to be at home. Peace to you!