Time to Move on and Ordination Anniversary
Last night as I was sitting in the little chapel in my dorm building (pictured at left with photos of the dining and common area of the house below), I was thinking that when I was ordained on June 10, 1972 I would have never dreamed that I would spend my 34th anniversary in England. But here I am, in England and preparing to move on to Chilworth, Rome, and Assisi beginning Monday, June 12th. Then, as I walked into the sacristy this morning I was surprised when I was asked if I would like to be main celebrant because of the anniversary. I had no homily prepared, so I just reflected on how the Holy Spirit works in our lives and in the life of the Church when we allow him to do so. I see much evidence of that in my years as a priest.
The time that I have spent here at the Franciscan International Study Centre has proven to be a spiritually rewarding experience. I cannot put into words how welcoming the friars, staff, and students have been. I feel very much a part of things because that is how the folks here have viewed my presence--they see me as part of the overall group that makes us this centre. People come and go here, but their presence is valued while they are a part of the group. And that is very much an exercise in Franciscan living. I have dramatically felt the value of collaborative ministry. The professed Franciscans (friars of various kinds and sisters) have shared the Franciscan vision with the laity to form a truly Franciscan enterprise. It can be done and it creates a very positive environment when done well.
Today we have been blessed with a seminar on Saint Clare and this evening we have a big barbecue put on for the Centre by the "Friends of the Centre." Tomorrow I visit with Peter Muhwati and his family in Ashford. Peter is one of our Postulants who is about to enter the Novitiate who, while being from Zimbabwe, also has a family home here in England. Who would have thought last year when I was planning to teach here that one of our Postulants would also have family in this area.
The next posting with be either from Chilworth England or from Assisi (I doubt if I'll have time or an opportunity to spend time at a computer in Rome). So, I'll be back either Monday or Wednesday of next week. Keep the comments and emails coming. I enjoy the connection with home.