Sunday, September 25, 2005

A weekend at Loyola House.

I thought about preceeding the word "weekend" in the title of this post with an adjective like "quiet" or "unexceptional." On reflection, it occurred to me that to do so might be disingenuous, for this weekend has been neither quiet nor unexceptional.

In some sense, one might say things have been quiet here because a lot of people are away for the weekend. The staff are all away for various reasons, the primi have left for the annual fall pilgrimage to the Martyrs' Shrine in Midland, and several of the secundi are out of town for weddings, conferences and the like. While the customary whirl of activity around the novitiate has been stilled for a few days, the parish festival going on this weekend at Our Lady of La Salette Church across the street has had a definite impact on Loyola House. The festival brings in many more people and a lot more vehicle traffic than we normally see in our tranquil suburban neighborhood. The festival also brings a lot more noise than we're accustomed to - over the last couple days, the joyful sounds of families enjoying the carnival rides and games of chance brought in for the occasion and the strains of music provided by a succession of live bands have been seemingly omnipresent. In short, the La Salette parish festival shakes things up quite a bit. The crowds and sounds that descend on our usually empty and silent street one weekend a year bring with them a welcome sense of wonder and vitality. Not everyone can say that they have an annual carnival in their front yard, but we at Loyola House can.

At the start of the preceding paragraph, I noted that a fair number of Loyola House residents happened to be away this weekend. I'd be remiss if I didn't also acknowledge the visitors Loyola House has welcomed over the past few days. Visiting from Skokie, Illinois were Mr. and Mrs. Shea, my brother novice Jim Shea's parents. I first met the Sheas when they came to visit last fall, and it was great having a chance to see them again. Another visitor of the past few days has been Father Terry Charlton, a Jesuit originally of the Chicago Province who has spent the past eighteen years living and working in Africa. Terry is currently spending a few months back in the United States to visit friends and family and to promote the work of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School, a new Jesuit institution serving AIDS orphans in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information on Terry's work, check out this article from the Summer 2004 issue of Partners, the Chicago Province magazine.

Attended Divine Liturgy this morning at Our Lady of Redemption Melkite Catholic Church in Warren. Of the various Melkite parishes I've visited, Our Lady of Redemption is the largest and most impressive. The brand-new church building is authentically Byzantine and Middle Eastern in design and stands in striking contrast with the nondescript suburban tract houses and strip malls of the surrounding neighborhood. The packed pews at this morning's liturgy, the strong singing and active participation by parishioners and the long list of activities listed in the bulletin all proved that Our Lady of Redemption is a strong and vibrant parish community. I was also impressed and moved by the great care that all involved in the liturgy - priests, deacons, cantors, servers et al. - showed in making their corporate worship as lively and reverent as possible. When commenting on different parish liturgies on this blog, I often say that I look forward to going back to this or that church. I look forward to going back to Our Lady of Redemption, and in this case I really, really mean it.

Earlier this evening, my brother novices Ben Krause, Jake Martin and myself attended a potluck dinner at the JVC community house in Detroit. As our contribution to the potluck, the three of us threw together some vegetarian chili (Ben's idea) with cheddar and pepper jack cheese mixed in to add a richer taste and a thicker texture (my idea). To our surprise and delight, we had all the ingredients we needed in the novitiate kitchen, so we didn't have to do any extra shopping. The finished product was a big hit at the potluck, which featured a diverse variety of uniformly tasty dishes brought by various attendees. It was also great to meet this year's group of Detroit and Pontiac JV's, several of whom have connections to Georgetown, Santa Clara and other places close to my heart. Far from being "unexceptional," in the final analysis this was an exceptionally fine weekend at Loyola House. AMDG.


At September 27, 2005 11:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm waiting...still no 2046!!!


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