It seems, in my rush to get to press last weekend, that I inadvertently ‘killed’ one parishioner and brought another one back from the dead. The Knights of Columbus Chalice (that we now have in our possession) was in memory of Anthony Schmidt (deceased) presented to the parish by his mother Phyllis and brother, Tom (living) and not the other way around. I expressed my apology to Tom when I caught the mistake in-between confessions this Saturday. He was very gracious, and still very much alive. To quote Mark Twain: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

On other fronts, while you are reading this, the Newman Center Awakening retreat is happening at Camp Rockyvine, on the outskirts of Dutzow, MO. Our student leaders have spent weeks of their time preparing and praying, writing talks and sharing in small groups. The group of first time awakeners is a little smaller this year than some years, but the enthusiasm is just as great, as is the sacrifice the team makes for the weekend. If you would, continue to keep us in your prayers as often as you think of it this weekend. I know that a few of the students are carrying some heavy burdens and could use all the prayer support we can give them.

At the beginning of the retreat, I set the table by telling the retreatants that “they are not alone.” There are circles and circles of people who are praying for them, sacrificing for them and holding them up to God in prayer. I read a letter from the Archbishop with his pledge of support. And I point to the tables of cookies, brownies and snacks as visible proof of the love of people whom they have never met who make God very real by their love and sacrifice. The rest, I say, is up to you.

Thanks for allowing me to say that with such gladness in my heart and such affection in my voice. You really do make a difference in their lives, even though you may never meet them, nor they you. But this weekend, there is a bond of connectedness between us. That bond is a foretaste of the mystical body of Christ that we all belong to, and one day will become in fullness in the kingdom of heaven. It is how we are meant to be and live – caring for each other, supporting one another, challenging one another to walk the journey of faith together. On behalf of the team and staff and the Awakening and Growth retreatants, let me say simply: Thanks for making God’s love real and visible for them. You are AMAZING!