On rare ocassions (unless you are in Hawaii) you meet people who make you feel immediately welcome and as though you were a part of their family, and had been for a quite long time. Sunday afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting such a family.
Some years back Lt. Col. Pat Castle organized the Living in Faith Exchange (L.I.F.E.) Group that grew into the LIFE Runners. The group offers brief daily reflections and serves as the spiritual arm of the group; the runners run to raise awareness and funds for life. Their clever slogan is, "Runners run, Christians pray, LIFE Runners do both!"
When Pat, who is currently stationed at Scott Air Force Base, learned Bishop Paprocki is a marathon runner, he invited him to run with the Life Runners this October in Kansas City. Bishop Paprocki happily accepted his invitation. The Catholic Times has a story on the upcoming race here.
Since Bishop Paprocki and I were to be in Belleville at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows Sunday evening, Pat invited Bishop Paprocki to join him for a run in the afternoon and to join his family for dinner at their home before heading to the Shrine.
As Pat and the Bishop ran, I visited with Pat's wife, Angie, and their children and felt as if I had known them for years. When their run was completed, Pat and the Bishop joined us for a delicious meal, after which Pat led us to the Shrine for Mass and a rosary walk.
As I said, we felt immediately welcomed and as part of the family, for which we were both very grateful.