There were no politicized banners this year at the Eucharistic Congress. That kind of thing was halted for good. Instead, there were great speakers, lots of devotion, lots of Adoration, lots of Confessions, heaps of activities for all. Every year for 15 years there has been an increase in the size of the crowd that comes. I don’t know what the count is, but this year there seemed to be really a lot more people. Great to see. And people were very devout in reception of Holy Communion, with many going down on their knees on the concrete floor.
At the end of the day, after the closing Mass, just after the Apostolic Benediction with the plenary indulgence, the bishop asked the huge crowd whether or not they would like to see this next year, 2020, dedicated in Charlotte Diocese to Saint Joseph. There was a huge round of applause, so the bishop declared on the spot that this was to be the case. And this announcement was followed by another huge round of applause. I love that. This is such a good diocese.
There was also a lot of catching up with friends, both laity and priests, really good priests. I ate lunch with a group of seminarians, really good seminarians. I’m very impressed with their integrity of doctrine, morality, spirituality, just plain groundedness. They get it. They know who they are in Christ Jesus, that is, those who are in humble thanksgiving before Jesus.
Meanwhile, just in case I myself forgot who I am, I was supplied with two IDs:
I always knew there were two of me somewhere in the world anyway (and that’s now confirmed by Diplomatic Security. So, Hahaha.
It was the comment of one of the nice ladies in charge taking care of the priestly vestments for the day that the two IDs were a statement about my supposed ability to bilocate. Um… No… Not yet anyway!
Some of the priests were a bit snarkier, saying that the IDs provided me with some rather glorious titles. Um… No… No me. Not ever! Those are the names of the churches of my parish, with Holy Redeemer being the “parish church” and Prince of Peace being the “mission church.”
The trip put well over 400 miles on Sassy the Subaru, often through mountainous cell-phone dead areas. And the phone was off for most of the long weekend, even for emergencies, as it’s not good to have the phone on during Mass, during Confessions, during Adoration, during the Eucharistic Procession in the streets of Charlotte, etc.
So, apologies to those who have phone calls and emails and such awaiting responses. Today’s the day I’ll try to get some things done. It’s just that Friday night I went to bed at 10:30 pm and got up at Midnight to get some things done before leaving for Charlotte at 2:00 am. Then Sunday night I got back to the parish at 1:30 am and got to bed at 2:00 am, only to get up at 4:00 am to get ready for the day. Let’s see:
- 1:30 am – get back from the Eucharistic Congress (dogs had been fed by the neighbor)
- 2:00 am – finally get to bed
- 4:00 am – wake up for the day, with lots to do, including feeding the dogs! I noted that I was actually having knee tremors from lack of sleep at this point. Not good.
- 5:30 am – travel to the church to set up for Adoration
- 6:00 am – Adoration and hearing confessions until 7:00 am
- 7:10 am – rush up to the mission church in Graham county
- 7:30 am – set up for Mass and Adoration
- 8:00 am – Adoration and Rosary and hearing Confessions
- 8:30 am – Mass
- 9:45 am – Social in the social hall
- 10:00 am – rush back to Cherokee County
- 10:30 am – Confessions
- 11:00 am – Mass
- 12:15 pm – Social in the social hall
- 1:30 pm – Start off on Communion calls for the sick and trips to the nursing homes in a couple of towns, utterly non-stop
- 6:30 pm – Feed the dogs and start winding down…
- 7:45 pm – To sleep. That lasted until 5:00 am Monday with prison ministry to begin, as always, after 7:00 am. So… Still alive!
Meanwhile, I love being a priest.
And we need more priests here. To guys thinking they just might have a vocation that needs to be discerned, contact Charlotte Diocese!