17 June 2010

Fast Time in Italy!

Well, at least from my posting it does not seem that I have been in Italy long at all. I think that I have been busier this summer. I have actually been working a good bit via internet.

I had a wonderful Roman pranzo today with my friend, Fr. David Carter of the Diocese of Knoxville. He had just successfully completed his oral exams for his Canon Law degree the evening before, and I thought that he needed to celebrate! We had a delicious lunch in a small, family restaurant. It was great. We talked of plans for getting priests together from our two dioceses for monthly days of recollection, as the Code of Canon Law stipulates! Please pray that we carry out this holy resolution.

Later in the afternoon, I visited the Venerable English College. They have an exhibition going called: Non Angli, sed Angeli. It was about the history of the college. On Sunday, I fulfilled another dream this trip of visiting San Girolamo de la Carita, just across the street from the English College. It was St. Philip Neri's residence before he moved to the Chiesa Nuova. It is hardly ever open, and even when I did get in I was allowed to visit St. Philip's room only by the hardest! But I did it. I was so moved. It was the emotional high point of this trip for me.

This afternoon, I also stopped by the Brigittine Convent that is nearby to pray especially for my sister. We stayed in this residence the summer before she entered the convent -- more than 25 years ago. I remember what a "stick in the mud" I was on that trip for her! I think that she has forgiven me :-)

OK. I am actually getting myself in mind to come home. I am SO excited about getting ready for the fall. Thanks to all of you for your prayers, support, and help.

12 June 2010

Year of the Priest

I have been the lamest blogger ever this summer, especially since I have so much to blog about. We went to the two big closing events for the Year of the Priest. I will have to let you read what Pope Benedict said because I don't know Italian! I can tell you about the ceremonies themselves.

On Thursday night, there was the Vigil and Adoration and Benediction. Other than the program for the "vigil" being way too long, it was really impressive. There were thousands of priests there from everywhere. I seemed to notice lots of Latin Americans in particular. Adoration and Benediction were especially impressive. Almost all of the priests were kneeling on the cobblestones, and at a certain point the entire place was completely quiet just before Benediction.

The Mass the next day was also surprisingly reverent for such a big event. I think that it is clear that Pope Benedict is leaving his mark on the Church: faithful, thoughtful, prayerful. He is looking at things in the long term. One thing that I am very grateful for is that the seminarians seem to take it all for granted. That is a change for the good.

09 June 2010

What am I doing?

Sorry for the slow blogging. I ought to be overflowing with stuff to say, but I am simply trying to do my job the best I can. While I am physically here in Rome, a large part of my heart and mind is back in Nashville working on the last part of the year to be wrapped up: the finances. Our fiscal year ends on June 30, and we stand a good chance of ending the year with our budget in balance. That is a big change from last year, when I was sitting here in Rome worried about a big deficit and not being about to do much about it. So thanks to all of you who have made this a better year financially. It is definitely not too late to help up out this year so please hit the donate button or send us a check soon! I would love to be able to say that we have completely turned the financial situation around at the close of the fiscal year! Help me to do it!

I am also looking forward and getting things lined up for next year. I think that we are better prepared than ever for a great year. We are planning our outreach, retreats, classes, events, and so much more for next year. I was trying to figure out why I feel so much better about these preparations than last year. It's because my assistant back in Nashville has not just had a baby this year, as she had last year. Even I tried to leave her alone for a while last year. But I can definitely say that when Kristi is available to assist my work, my life is better! Especially when I am across the ocean from my office!

And Rome ... well, I am having a good time showing it to the seminarians. I did get better acquainted with the city last year so it's easy to do. Of course, it is wonderful to be here. More about that later.