Mom wants to know if this is a "working vacation" ("I keep finding you at your computer!"). Well, I confess to catching up on a few apostolate-related things that I didn't manage before Easter... like sending the posters I just made to St. Paul's in Joliet for the May 16 retreat. I'd be a lot less relaxed returning to Chicago on May 5 with such things still hanging over my head. As it is, I still have a retreat talk to write! And it is also true that I have two talks lined up while I am here. One was scheduled in January when I was here on an actual work-related trip in which I had more days off than working. And the other was an impromptu offer when I met the Sisters of the Holy Family at last week's Institute on Religious Life meeting. These sisters are so much a part of New Orleans, and they suffered incredibly from Hurricane Katrina. Even last week, the sisters at the conference were asking if we had any copies of the wonderful papal document on religious life, "Vita Consecrata," because so many of the sisters' copies were destroyed in the flood. So I offered to give the community a little presentation for the Year of St. Paul. That will be Monday evening.
That's really all, I promise! But Mom wants the time not counted toward my vacation... It is going fast, I admit that.
Today I stopped at the Pauline book center to greet the sisters and pick up a few books and CDs to display with my talk Sunday. That will be at Holy Name, the parish on the Loyola campus. (9:15 in the office building by the chapel; come on by if you're in the city--get jazzed by St. Paul before going to the Jazz Fest!) That immense Church (where my parents were wed) now has only two Sunday morning Masses and one in the evening. But they manage to sustain a perpetual adoration chapel. I guess they have 100% participation: all the Mass-going Catholics in uptown New Orleans must be committed to an hour of adoration! Mom's parish has perpetual adoration, but there is a sign on the door seeking adorers for the Sunday 1:00 a.m. to 2:00 slot and one other less drastic slot. The 4:00 a.m. post was recently filled. It's really inspiring.
I noticed at the book center that our Catholic Favorites, volume 2 CD is now available. We recorded this last August. It has some real favorites: To Jesus Christ, Our Sovereign King, How Great Thou Art (okay, not a "Catholic" hymn, but still a favorite of Catholics), Let There Be Peace on Earth (see: How Great Thou Art), Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence. I haven't heard it yet... about to give it a test run on Mom's kitchen CD player while I check the caribou chili. (The caribou is from Sr. Charlotte, a native of Alaska. She and her family go hunting every year, do the whole field-dressing thing, and she brings a supply of frozen game back to the convent. When she got transferred, she gave Mom ground caribou and caribou stew cuts... Mom hasn't touched them.)