Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009

After a very busy Sunday, I was very glad to have what was, for all practical purposes, a virtual "day off." I purposely slept in, knowing that there really wasn't going to be much for me to do early in the morning, especially now that school is no longer in session. After mass and morning prayer, I went off to the school to run some errands. I tried to find Kevin Walsh, the Recruitment Director for the High School, about the upcoming LAN party scheduled for this Thursday. He wasn't around, at outside of the regularly-scheduled mail pick-up, I really had absolutely nothing to do with my morning. I prayed a rosary and attempted to update my video game blog for the remainder of the morning. I also scheduled a visit to the St. Vincent Depaul/Catholic Charities Senior Center with the parish Nurse for Wednesday morning; I'll deal with that cross when I come to it.

At around 11:30 or so Fr. Steve knocked on my door with an invitation to come along to the Women's Center on Elston Avenue. Having been to this crisis pregnancy center once before, I was all too happy to oblige.

Fr. Steve said a beautiful mass at the chapel at the center (they recently expanded their adoration hours - it's now a perpetual adoration chapel, meaning, among other things, that the closing of the nearby abortion mill that spurred the creation of the Women's Center in the first place shouldn't be too far off. Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever!

I prayed a decade of the rosary with a group of volunteers after the mass, and then Fr. Steve and I went back to St. Ben's just in time to catch the tail-end of lunch with the Elementary School teachers, who were busy in their post-school year evaluation with the principal, Rachel Gemo. We mooched off some of the leftover food, stuck around for about 20 minutes or so, and headed off back to the rectory.

I had the rest of the afternoon free; I once again attempted to read "Diary of a Country Priest," but fell asleep AGAIN after only 10 pages of reading (and this during the Hour of Mercy no less!). At least I have a good sleeping aid for the lonely nights now...

The Dinner bell (yes, we have a dinner bell here at the St. Ben's rectory!) rung at about 5:30, as usual. Tonight was the first night every priest here at St. Ben's was actually around for dinner! I felt like taking a photo or something. I still don't understand why the priests here don't spend more time together. It can get awfully lonely as a parish priest, even in (especially in!) the midst of city living, which fosters a certain kind of spiritual isolation courtesy of our individualistic culture. Just how do these priests do it? Is the day-to-day contact with parishioners really so taxing as to demand some "alone time" that even other priests dare not interfere? I don't get the impression that the priests here particularly dislike each other, unless they're putting up a facade because of me. But why would I make that kind of substantial difference? Besides, I would have seen at least SOME indication by now if the priests here had any bad blood between them. St. Benedict, Ora Pro Nobis!

Following dinner, I met Fr. Beaven over a Benfest meeting (the annual fundraiser/block party for the parish and schools); lots of interesting exchanges, but my favorite comes from a woman remarking about managing the scheduled outdoor mass with the scheduled appearance of a clown for the younger ones in another area of the parking lot. The group was trying to figure out just where exactly the clown could be during the celebration of the mass. "Can the clown help out at mass?" was her semi-facetious query. Deacon Phil, who was sitting right next to me, immediately burst into a bout of nervous laughter. I have a feeling both he and I were sharing the same pretentious anxiety about the liturgical nightmare that could envelop with or without the clown's participation. Oy!

In the midst of the automatic volunteering that inevitably becomes a part of being the parish's resident seminarian for the summer, I'm apparently signed up to help out with the "water and pop" tent at Benfest; Deacon Phil gave me some good pointers, as did a couple of the other attendees at the meeting. Not being particularly big with manual labor and checklist-variety maintenance work, I gotta admit that this particular job looks like it could be more than I bargained for. Already the butterflies are soaring in my stomach at the thought of having to deal with rude drunkards and noisy kids, with my hands chaffed with freezerburn as my skin boils beneath the sweltering summer sun. No doubt I'm going to have to learn to "let go and let God" in this situation and many others throughout the course of my life; trust in the Lord (which is really just a layman's way of citing the theological virtue of Hope) must take deeper root within me if I am to be an effective priest, or an effective ANYTHING, for that matter.

O God, I am heartfully sorry for having offended you, and I detest all my sins, because of your just punishments. Most of all, because I have offended you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love, I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to sin no more, and to avoid the near occasion of sin. AMEN!

1 comment:

  1. I have another book which was written by a noted British clown who also happens to be an Anglican priest. The things he does with liturgy! Though he does have some very insightful ideas on Christ as Clown and the playfulness of prayer. Plus he's a genuine good guy (I've met him) and an excellently skilled artist with wonderful stories to tell through his work.

    Why don't you ask the priests about the dinner/time together thing? It might reveal some valuable insights.

    Anyway, if you need any offertory incense bubbles blown, let me know!