Thursday, November 11, 2004

Back from retreat
As Fr. Tharp already reported (via blogging while on retreat -- don't even get me started on the notion of THAT!) our retreat was good and we were pleased with the retreat director, Bishop Blase Cupich of Rapid City, South Dakota. It could have been more prayerful and quiet, but it was good all in all.

For the second year in a row I became sick while on retreat in Wichita. This happened last year around this time of year and at the same retreat house. It is another allergy related sinus infection that is quickly becoming bronchitis. Allergies are hell!

To get to the retreat I drove (the 2 1/2 hours) to Fr. Tharp's parish last Sunday night. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner that night, cooked by Fr. Tharp, which was highlighted by a wonderful rib eye steak topped with freshly made bearnaise sauce. I spent the night at the rectory and then Fr. Tharp drove the remaining 2 1/2 hours to Wichita. Fr. Tharp's suggestion that I come to his parish to enjoy some visiting, letting him, then, drive the remainder of the journey was a brilliant idea, a sign of his fraternal charity, and much, much fun. It took a significant burden off of me and, let's face it, we don't often get much time to simply visit and spend time together. However, in this age of heightened security, we realized that such trips may not be wise in the future. We have to take a lesson from Secret Service 101: Extreme caution must be had when BOTH the President and Vice President are in one place together. You could stand to have a significant disaster where both are "taken out." So, with both of us in the same car there was a higher chance that we might both be incapacitated. We won't let it happen in the future.

So, today, at the retreat's end we repeated the journey back to Fr. Tharp's parish (this time minus the night stay over and the bearnaise sauce!). Once in Alva, I stayed around for a few minutes and then got into my car to finish the journey. As I was a few minutes outside of Alva, a saw a Bald Eagle take off from some low valley. It was awesome! I had such a great view of this beautiful bird and I couldn't believe what my eyes were seeing -- I had no idea Bald Eagles existed in that part of the state.

So, now I am home. Tomorrow is the first installment of Eucharistic Adoration on all Fridays (previously we did it only on First Fridays) for this Year of the Holy Eucharist. I am excited about that. I will have to tie up some loose ends tomorrow from having been away this week. I have the joy of remarrying a divorced couple (who never had their marriage annulled and never pursued other marriages) -- certainly a rather rare event. Yes, by the way, this act is only necessary to re-establish marriage between them in the eyes of the state -- in the eyes of the Church they never ceased being married. Also, I need to get ready for the weekend and the impending visit of Mark Shea! It will be a busy and wonderful next few days.

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