Brothers and sisters in Christ,
Well, we are into our 3rd week at camp, and first week with the little ones. This week we have 8-9 year old children attending. After 3 years, Aspen has finally made it to camp (she missed the last several years due to family events or travel). I have Anna here helping me out, so while it’s an intensely busy time, I’m content that I have my family with me! Thanks be to God!
Despite being on sabbatical, I was very excited to be able to attend the first Mass in the newly renovated Assumption Parish! At the Mass, Father thanked all the many volunteers who cleaned up the parish to get it ready. I also wanted to add my thanks to all the volunteers, as well as to all the contractors who worked so hard (some of them donating time) to fix the flood and do the renovations. Marcel and his crew, the drywallers (who donated time to make the ceiling look nicer), the mud/taping crew, the flooring team, and last but not least, Randy for the wonderful wood work that he did.
During the last month I spent 2 weeks at camp before we officially opened. This gave me an opportunity to get to know the facilities better (last year as part of our transition to the diocese, St. Louis Parish was still responsible for the facilities) as well as to get a lot of cleaning done. The term “chief cook and bottle washer” comes to mind sometimes when I’m out here cleaning toilets or other tasks! However, whether I’m cleaning or building budgets, I’m so very blessed to have a small part of this amazing camp.
At the end of the month we celebrated the Dedication (Consecration) of the Cathedral. What an amazing event! For those who were not able to attend, the entire Mass is on YouTube! As I mentioned last month, sometimes technology is grand! It was a beautiful Mass, with the procession from Racette School, carrying the relics of St. Paul, all the clergy, the incensing and anointing of the altar, etc. Then, some good food afterwards! On Canada Day we spent a fantastic morning with the Greenly’s, then headed over to enjoy a few Canada Day festivities. From there we went to Holy Name Parish and celebrated the installation of a relic of St. Teresa of Calcutta and the Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The following day Aspen was an altar server for the first time! I have to admit, this was probably one of the proudest moments of my life. Ever since Aspen approached Bishop Paul and asked if she could serve at my ordination, she has never lost her focus. She did very well, and I’m so proud of her. Then, it was off to camp for us. Our first week was TEAM week, which is a week where we work on getting the camp ready for the summer, build camaraderie with the TEAM members, and fine tune the program for the summer. TEAM this year has bonded so well, which will trickle down and create an even better experience for the youth!
On July 9th, I was instituted as an Acolyte for the Diocese of St. Paul. This is the last ministry that one receives on the way to ordination. In our present Church, functionally it does not change much for me. The Acolyte is instituted to assist the priest and deacon, as well as to distribute communion. They should serve before an adult server or EMHC. However, practically speaking, because we schedule our ministers 6 months in advance, our church does not bump other ministers as soon as an instituted Acolyte shows up. So, the only thing that really changes is that after communion, an instituted Acolyte can purify the vessels. It was a great vocational moment, and having it at Camp St. Louis provided an opportunity to call attention to vocations within the diocese. My challenge to you is to please continue to pray the prayer for vocations (the one we used to pray during the Mass), as we still require so many more vocations (to both the priesthood, as well as diaconate, religious, and married life!)
For school, I completed my Contemporary Catholic Philosophy course and I am now 50% done my course on Metaphysics. When I finished my Christology course, I realized I had met the requirements for 4 academic certificates. So, last week I received my certificates in Faith Foundations I, Liturgy, Youth Evangelization, and Social Justice! It was a great moment, as each time I finish a course or get a certificate, it reminds me of the time I have spent focusing on my faith and working to know Jesus even more!
Please continue to pray for me and for my brothers in the diaconate formation program. As we enter our final year in which we focus on some of the liturgical duties we will have, this is also an intense year of discernment. The discernment process doesn’t get easier as we go along, if anything it becomes more intense. So please pray for me, that I may respond to God’s call and be a good and faithful servant.
God bless you and keep you safe.