Life as the Episcopal Master of Ceremonies brings with it some quiet days and some packed days; there seems to be little in between, which is perhaps just as well.
Over the last two weeks Bishop Paprocki has has several meetings outside the Diocese that have not required my attention. While he was away each time I returned to St. Anthony of Padua Parish to assist the Parochial Administer by hearing confessions for the schools and assisting at three different retreats. Consequently what I planned to be just a few days for rest turned out to be quite busy, and also very enjoyable.
This past weekend saw a flurry of activity within the See City and its surroundings.
Friday evening on our return from Confirmation at St. Michael Parish in Staunton I mentioned to the Bishop that we should leave the Cathedral at 6:00 the next morning for Mass at Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Highland, which would be followed by a men's prayer breakfast at the Knights of Columbus' Hall; leaving so early would afford us time to vest and prepare for the Liturgy.
When I awoke Saturday morning I did not remember hearing the alarm, so I looked at my cell phone to learn the time: 6:01 a.m. Apparently, I set the weekday alarm that does not include Saturday; that won't happen again.
In a panic I jumped in the shower, dressed and was ready to go in a record seven minutes. When Bishop called me as I was putting on my shoes I told him I overslept just a bit and would be ready in two minutes. We left the Cathedral about 6:15 a.m. and thankfully arrived in Highland with enough time to prepare for the Mass.
Joe Lombardi, the grandson of Vince Lombardi and quarterback coach for the New Orleans Saints, was the guest speaker at the prayer breakfast.
Not being a football fan (I don't generally even know when the Super Bowl is happening) I did not know who he was from Adam. I was able to have breakfast with him and the Bishop and was very impressed with him. He is a man of faith, down to earth and committed, who carries himself simply.
Being also a wise man he spoke about what he knows: football. He shared some of the qualities he looks for when looking for quarterbacks and related them to the practice of the faith.
The one that I still remember is the willingness and desire to keep practicing the fundamentals of the game; if a player does not have the fundamentals down each time the gameplay will not be well.
Relating it to the faith, he said the fundamentals of the faith are: Eucharist, confession, daily prayer, the rosary and the Scriptures. If we don't practice each of these, our faith weakens.
He talk was quite excellent and if you ever have the opportunity to hear him speak you should really go. I think we should be bring him back to the Diocese for a youth event or adult education.
After the prayer breakfast the Bishop and I returned to Springfield, where I worked for a bit on final preparations for the two Rites of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion.
I celebrated Mass at St. Peter Parish in Petersburg at 5:00 p.m. and raced back to the Cathedral for the 7:00 p.m. RECCC, which went mostly well.
Afterwards I went out to visit the men on the priesthood discernment retreat (twelve were there) and had a good visit with them before retiring for the night.
Sunday morning I celebrated Mass at 8:00 a.m. in Petersburg and at 10:00 a.m. at Holy Family Parish in Athens, before again returning to the Cathedral for the RECCC at 2:30 p.m.
The second celebration flowed more smoothly than the one Saturday evening. I'm still learning the Bishop's style and adapting myself to it, which won't be too hard to do now that I have a better sense of it (it's not an easy topic to converse about; it has to be experienced).
Afterwards I joined some friends for supper and called it a weekend.