When it’s scorchingly hot and yet drenchingly humid, even Palestinian donkeys can be hot and bothered, sweating by the bucket. Priests, much like donkeys (see The return of this Jackass for the Hour), can suffer from hot situations in their parishes and dioceses and religious orders. Unlike donkeys, priests can take advantage of a retreat center in the gentle hills of the lower Appalachian range in central Alabama. This donkey is on the grounds of the retreat center, aka, “The Barn.”
The Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Hanceville host priests for free in “The Barn.” The retreat center for priests is actually converted from a barn at which, I’m sure, this donkey had stayed as a young colt. His name is surely “Brother Ass” in honor of Saint Francis. Everything is there. You need merely call to see if there is a room available. Sometimes you’ll be the only one. Sometimes there are large groups. Don’t hesitate, my priest friends, to take advantage of this opportunity. It’s truly a pilgrimage spot.
Of course, you need not be in a hot situation to take a day of recollection or to make your canonical retreat here. My Vicar Forane and I came down for a day just to do it. The “just to do it” reason is always a good idea for us priests. Always. There’s never a time when it’s not a good idea. There are no retreat masters, but all your meals are provided. You needn’t worry about a thing. There’s an exquisite chapel in “The Barn,” and there’s the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Both awesome, both conducive to prayer. Confessions are, of course, available from the Friars who are chaplains to the Poor Clares.
Oh, and did I mention that one of those chaplains is a Missionary of Mercy? I mention that because many of the faculties granted for absolutions concern priests. Just do it.