I had my dates all mixed up. Retreat doesn't start until next week. We've been having community updating meetings at the retreat house this week. The weather is just my speed: 90 or so, humid... but the mosquitoes in Massachusetts this year are incredibly plentiful (not to mention aggressive). They actually intimidated me to the point that I did not step foot outside yesterday. (Today was less humid, so I slatered on the insecty repellent and took my chances on a short walk. The bug spray worked.)
Today's meetings were with (and about) our Pauline laidy, the "Cooperators." The Paulien Cooperators were actually the first institute of the Pauline Family to get official Church recognition and status--in 1918. They are especially well organized and active in Italy (of course) and in the Philippines, but we want to help the groups here in North America to flourish, too. So today we had a panel of Cooperators and sisters addressing issues, and we did some brainstorming with them to come up with a few practical steps to take to provide consistent and ongoing formatioin in the thought of Blessed James and the spirituality he developed. One of the Cooperators is an actress, who sees a real longing among the Catholics in Hollywood for the community and spiritual support the Cooperators can offer--not just as their own Institute, but because they are connected to a bigger (much bigger) family of insittutes with a special media focus. This reminded me of our obligation to pray in a deliberate and conscientious way for media professionals. Sometimes I let that intention slip off my radar sceeen, crowded out by many other intentions and needs--but it is all the more urgent as our culture refers more and more to media creations (and celebrities) for a sense of direction and identity.
Friday we will visit the publishing house, where a lot of reorganizing has been going on: departments changing places, new personnel, etc. By evening, I'll be up to date. Tomorrow is also significant in the publishing apostolate because Pope Francis' first encyclical, on faith, will be released. This was begun by Pope-Emeritus Benedict, and taken up by Francis, so it is unique in the history of the Church in that sense, too. (Francis spoke of it as an "encyclical written by four hands.") This completes Benedict's "trilogy" of encyclicals on the three theological virtues; he already issued "Saved in Hope" and "God is Love." You will be able to download the document directly from the Vatican.va website tomorrow--you can also pre-order a handy printed version (I'm calling it "chapel format" since it is such a good size to use in personal prayer). In fact, here's a message you can copy and paste into Facebook and Twitter to help get the word out:
Pope Francis' first encyclical in a handy "chapel size" format! Pre-order today https://www.cvent.com/Pub/eMarketing/Pages/SignUp.aspx?p=3ce0e4c4-0115-47b2-a4fc-8bdc2363eb1a&m=