Final Notes on the Mega Conference
Yesterday, Friday, we bid farewell to the Franciscan Center and to one another as our Mega Conference came to an end. The OFMs were responsible for the morning Liturgy and I was the celebrant. (Paul Schloemer, O.F.M. Conv., the priest who was the Celebrant on Wednesday, took some pictures for me.) Jacob-Matthew Smith, O.F.M. from the Commissariat of the Holy Land led the music and David Liedl, T.O.R again played the piano.
When I arrived home last evening the weather here in Cincinnati was much as it had been in Tampa--hot. But we do not have the mysterious Spanish Moss growing from our trees. I call it "mysterious" because it just kind of grows wherever it wants to. All it needs is something to hang on to and some humidity and off it goes. (You can see it hanging from the trees in the picture on the left.) Another example of God's creative imagination.
What would I say I gained from the Conference? A good shot in the arm! It is difficult to explain, but spending a week with fellow Vocation Directors and brother Franciscans sharing prayer and input and socials does something to one's spirit. I came home feeling affirmed and encouraged to keep putting effort into my ministry and with a deeper realization that I am about God's work. It is God who calls men to join our community as Francis himself said so well: "The Lord gave me brothers." Maybe I also came home with a new "technique" or two as well, but those are the minor benefits. The real gift is being with one another and knowing there are a group of brothers out there doing what I'm doing for the very same reason and with the very same motivation--and that is encouraging.