Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Region VI Deanery Meeting
Fr. Tharp and I are just back to our respective parishes following the first of what will be a regular meeting of the priests of our deanery, called "regions" in our archdiocese. It was a good opportunity for some priestly fraternity and some -- hold on to your seats, kids! -- actual planning and coordinating of ministry in our little area. Meeting more regularly was an idea I had to help develop our region into a little local gem. I suppose since I am the priest in the region with the most priestly ministerial experience, it comes as no surprise that I came up with the idea to communicate and work together. (I can't wait until Fr. Tharp gets a hold of that last sentence!) Fr. Tharp had the wonderful idea of bringing in speakers to the parishes of the region and sharing the costs, thus cutting down on substantial drain from any one parish and actually providing our sheep with some presentations that foster faith and adult education. I am also excited about a new development that our deanery will be the first to try: quarterly penance rites. The parish-wide penance rites typically held in Advent and Lent are usually well-attended and seem rather popular. Since we can't seem to get regular numbers to weekly confession opportunities we are going to test out the idea of offering parish-wide penance rites on two other occasions throughout the year. We hope it works and that people will come even though these additional rites won't be during the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent. If it works it may mean that people who come to the Advent Penance Rite may have actually gone to confession another time since the previous Lent! Imagine!

And now, one of the best lines from our Deanery Meeting overheard this morning at breakfast:
We were speaking of differences in the local Church of our Archdiocese and local Churches back east in heavily Catholic areas:

Fr. Tharp: Some of my classmates from Philly are scandalized that I am already a pastor [being only four years ordained].

Fr. Hamilton: [Well-timed pause and relaxed sip of coffee] Uh, well, some people here are scandalized too, but for different reasons!

Yes, cheap shots abound even at the Deanery Meeting.

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