After living like a human pinball travelling some twelve hundred miles between Mundelein, Springfield, Effingham and Quincy over the past ten days, I am delighted to have returned to Mundelein this afternoon. I am most looking forward to spending at least thirty-six hours in the same building; that will be a welcome change.
You may recall that I first left on the 23rd for the ordination of our first class of permanent deacons in the Diocese after which I drove to Quincy for the final Mass to be celebrated in my home church.
The next day - the 27th - I stopped in Springfield to have lunch with a couple of friends before returning to the Liturgical Institute - that, at least, was the plan.
I received word then that my pastor's mother was dying and was not expected to live more than a couple of days. Plans then quickly changed with my staying in Springfield with the intention of heading back to Effingham to alleviate my pastor of some of his duties for a while.
As it happened, the two retired priests who are filling in for me in my absence were two or three steps ahead of me and had the weekday Masses already covered someI remained in Springfield ready to move at a moment's notice. I stayed there Wednesday and Thursday and returned to Effingham last Friday for the weekend Masses where we celebrated the ordination of our own Deacon who preached at the Saturday evening Mass. A reception was held for him afterwards.
My pastor's mother died late Thursday evening and the funeral was celebrated on Tuesday. After returning to Effingham I stayed through Monday afternoon when I returned to Springfield for the funeral.
My pastor celebrated and preached the funeral Mass and did a very fine job. He is a gifted homilist. More than forty priests from across the Diocese joined his family at the funeral. A good number of our parishioners came for the funeral as well, both on a chartered bus and on their own.
Yesterday morning I drove back to Quincy where some of the youth from St. Anthony's are on a mission/work camp this week [news items here and here].
The kids had most of the afternoon free so I celebrated Mass for them before taking them to the city swimming pool for a couple of hours. Afterwards we had supper at the Maid Rite and then I took them on a very brief tour of the Gem City before getting them back to the camp for their evening program. After the program we went to the riverfront to watch the fireworks. Once the display concluded I hopped back in my car and drove back to Springfield to spend the night.
I had a great time with the kids throughout the day, mostly arguing the superiority of Quincy over Effingham. I don't expect this debate to die down anytime soon. One of them has already said he'll continue it in my class once school starts up again in August.
This morning I left Springfield and arrived back in Mundelein early in the afternoon. I am hopeful that this is the last batch of driving that I will do in a couple of weeks.
It has quite an adventure and I am more than ready to settle back into some semblance of a routine.