The post-Labor Day start-up activities I referred to a couple of weeks ago now are well begun. I mentioned then that I anticipated them with pleasure. They involve association with people who continually teach and inspire me. They put me in touch with challenging and interesting issues. They prod the mind and call the spirit to prayer.
Yesterday and today were filled with such associations, for example. Tuesday brought together the members of our Presbyteral Council. On Wednesday, there was an exciting assembly of catechetical leaders and youth, young-adult and campus ministers.
The Presbyteral Council met for the first time in this new season at the parish center at St. Dominic’s in Shortsville. One of the pleasant features of our opening meeting is the opportunity to hear from each of the members. Each makes a brief self-introduction and names for the membership the themes and issues he would like the council to address this year. Themes of spiritual renewal and pastoral planning were among those named most frequently. In addition to naming these themes, there also was some discussion of practical ways through which we can deal with them in realistic and fruitful ways during the course of the year. It won’t surprise you to learn that these conversations are well salted with humor and joyful spirit.
We also elected our executive committee for this year at our inaugural meeting. Father Kevin McKenna, pastor of St. Cecilia in Irondequoit, will be our chairperson. Father Bob Schrader, pastor of the Winton-Culver Catholic Community, is vice chair. Our secretary is Father Bob Kennedy, pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Rochester. The fourth member of the group is Father Bill Laird, pastor of St. Patrick’s in Seneca Falls.
If you are acquainted with these men, you know they bring much to the table. They are all gifted, experienced and committed priests who obviously enjoy the confidence and respect of their peers. I am quite excited about working with them in the months ahead. I should add the word “generous” to the descriptions I used in speaking of these men. As members of the executive committee they commit themselves to a meeting the day after each of our monthly council sessions. They also agree to serve five-year terms as diocesan consultors.
The Wednesday gathering was held at the Holiday Inn at Waterloo. You know from references I have made to them over the years that the catechetical leaders, youth and young-adult ministers and campus ministers are a very lively group. They certainly were at this session led by John Angotti, a musician and pastoral minister who led the assembly in consideration of the power and fruit of rich and well-celebrated liturgy. We all did a lot of singing, thinking, praying and conversing that day. John gave good gifts. We received them with enthusiasm and gratitude.
Tucked into the activity of those days was a late-afternoon trip on Tuesday to St. Mary Our Mother Parish in Horseheads. I went there to encourage people who have generously supported our Thanks Giving Appeal in the past to continue their support of that effort, the name of which we have changed to the Catholic Ministries Appeal. Their willingness to participate, their questions and suggestions, and their generosity were all most encouraging.
The comings and goings to which I have just referred involved a fair amount of time in the car. That turned out to be a blessing because the travel provided some time to think and pray about those several sessions, the people who made them so lively and the important themes that brought us together. I appreciate that quiet driving opportunity to let it all sink in. It’s a way to appreciate the presence and loving action of God in the midst of it all.
The experience also helped me appreciate the comment I heard recently that the car has become the new prie dieu for many people.
I hope that you’ve had a chance during these busy September days to reflect on the meaning of your daily experiences and about where they are leading you.
Peace to all.