This afternoon I had the privilege of baptizing my great-niece, Lillian. The family gathered at Holy Family Church in Peoria, IL for the Liturgy and then gathered at the parents' home for a meal. Grandparents, aunts uncles, great-aunts, great-uncles, cousins and a sibling shared in the celebration.
Clearly visible in the picture on the left is John, Lillian's uncle and godfather, and Patty, her mother. John and Patty are brother and sister. In the picture on the right Rebecca, the baby's cousin and godmother is also visible along with Lillian's grandfather and John and Patty's father seated in the pew.
Pictured on the left is Lillian and her immediate family: mother, Patty; father, Rick; and sister, Mary Ellen.
As a personal reflection I might add, I have been honored to celebrate many sacramental events in my family. I have presided at the marriage of my younger sister (I was not yet ordained when my older sister married), the baptism of my nephews and nieces, the marriages of three of my nieces and one of my nephews, and now I am in the midst of baptizing the great-nieces and nephews. I have also presided at the funerals of my parents. The continuity and expansion of the family is a sure sign of God's love for us. As I said before, I have much to be thankful for.
Congratulations, Fr. Don! Lillian is beautiful! What a beautiful picture ... how appropriate a photo as we begin the Advent season. A modern day Francis holding Jesus! Indeed, little Lillian reflects the perfection incarnation - nature and grace in perfect form!
Yesterday, Thanksgiving Day, I traveled to Peoria, IL to spend the day with my sisters and their families. It was also the first opportunity for me to meet my new great-niece, Lillian, who is two and a half months old. Pictured on the left are her mother, who is my niece Patty; her sister Mary Ellen who is two years old; and me holding Lillian.
This afternoon the family is gathering for the baby's baptism which I will perform at a local parish.
I have much to be thankful for.
Last Tuesday evening through Wednesday afternoon the Initial Formation Council of our province met at our interprovincial novitiate in Cedar Lake, IN. This council includes the six friars directly involved with initial formation plustwo others. We meet twice a year to discuss our formation programs, check on the progress of past decisions, and suggest future personnel for formation.
While the meeting was the focus of my trip to Cedar Lake, the high point was getting to visit with the novices. They are doing well and seem very happy with their year of novitiate training. It was very good to be with them for a few hours.
To learna whole lot more about this year's novices, I would refer you to their website http://www.ofmnovitiate.org/ There you will find pictures and descriptions of their life.
Attached is the latest Newsletter from the Franciscan Vocation Office>
I am in Bay City, MI this evening and experiencing the first snow of the season.
I flew up here yesterday in order to be available for an interview today in Pinconning, MI. The flights were bumpy due to strong, cold winds in Ohio and Michigan. I joined a prospective for Eucharist at St. Mary church outside Pinconning at 10:30. The weather was cold and there was evidence on the cars of a few snow flurries over night. Nothing on the ground, however. Now I am back in Bay City at the motel and it is snowing gently--enough to cover the cars and the ground. I had seen snow flurries in Minneapolis a few weeks ago, but this is the first snow cover I've seen this season. Oh joy, winter has arrived!
Is there a picture of this event, you might ask? No, because I forgot to pack my camera. I was at airport security yesterday when I realized I did not bring my camera. So, there are no pictures.
Oh well, we'll see lots more snow before spring arrives. But there is something exciting about the first snowfall of the season. Why? I don't know. Maybe it has something to do with the kid in each of us that finds snow attractive. Maybe it speaks to our need for the orderly change of seasons. Maybe it's just me. Who knows?
It is hard to realize that we just elected an African-American to the Presidency. Let's take some time to reflect on this event and pray to God for the safety of our President-Elect and for wisdom and courage for the man who will soon lead us.
I just completed an eight day retreat at our house at Lake Lorelei. The fall colors are beyond peak, but still beautiful. The weather was chilly the first few days, but toward the end of the week it warmed up to almost summer temperatures. One morning I awoke to a misty scene as the cold air was condensing into cloudy gauze over the warm waters of the lake. As I was trying to capture that scene, a flock of geese flew overhead. Convinced I had had enough communing with nature that morning as I stood on the cold cement in bare feet, I returned to the warm house for breakfast.
Once the weather warmed up, I took the camera and went looking for shots.I found some good one, I think.
But the week wasn't just about weather and scenery. It was about being refreshed in prayer and having some time to spend alone with myself and God. By yesterday afternoon, I was ready to pack up and go home feeling renewed and ready for work.
There is nothing like a week of quiet surrounded by nature to recharge one's batteries for both ministry and fraternal life.