- Four hours travel to Charlotte
- Four hours at the Bishop’s residence
- Four hours travel back to this mountain parish
That was 1 December 2022. Thursday.
- I had a great conversation with the Vicar General of the Diocese before festivities began. It takes a lot of goodness to face who knows what with random conversations with random priests. But this was superb.
- Then I had a great conversation with the Bishop of the Diocese before festivities began. It takes a lot of humility and love for the priests to make oneself available for who-knows-what for random conversations with random priests on such an occasion. But this went fantastically well.
- Then I had great conversations with other priests who came for the festivities, about half the presbyterate of Charlotte, the occasion being the bishop’s annual Advent Meal he puts on for us at his expense at his residence. Priestly fraternity at its best. Those conversations while mingling in the lineup at the food trough [τροφή in Greek, so, redundant] were – of course – about solving all the problems in the church and the world. We were happy that we agreed that Jesus Christ is the One, the only One.
- Then I had a great conversation at my table. That was about the Second Rite of Reconciliation. I pushed for regular individual confession for everyone throughout the year. :-)
- Finally, outside, while leaving, I had a great conversation with my Vicar Forane. Vicars Forane represent the Bishop on a local level and have quite a bit of authority. It takes a lot of priestly – what? – priestliness… faith… to be able to speak with instant friendship before Jesus with one’s fellow priests. This was so refreshing.
- Regarding the content of those conversations with the higher-ups, it was all good, all of it. That made for a great ride back to the mountains. Tons of Rosaries in thanksgiving.
- Regarding the logistics of those conversations, I’m guessing this is one of the very few (arch)dioceses in the world where this kind of availability and priestly fraternity happens in any way whatsoever. I take that back. Cardinal O’Connor set aside Wednesday mornings at his private residence to meet with priests in the Archdiocese even without an appointment. I took advantage of that once. Really good. We discussed a possible nuance to be added to John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae, in preparation at the time, with Cardinal O’Connor being a consulter for that.
- Don’t forget! Today’s First Friday. Do you have a Holy Hour of Adoration in your parish on First Fridays?
- Don’t forget! Tomorrow is First Saturday. Do you have an ongoing series of First Saturday Masses in your parish?
- Father Gordon’s early morning call from New Hampshire is about to begin…