Last Friday I started a ten day road trip. I flew into Indianapolis, where I gave a talk and presided over Mass and a Holy Hour for the Indiana Catholic Men’s Conference. Well over 600 men gathered from around the state at the Indianapolis Convention Center. It was good to see numerous former parishioners as well as men who are presently parishioners of my two brother priests in the Diocese of Evansville. We celebrated Mass at St. John’s which is right across the street from the Convention Center.
It was quite inspiring to see so many men taking their faith seriously. It was also uplifting to have a full church filled with so many voices singing God’s praises. Other presenters for the Conference were Dr. Edward Sri and Mr. Randy Hain.
The time in Indianapolis also provided opportunity to reconnect with a few friends, and to spend a Sunday with my sister, Sr. Nicolette, OSB. We went for a hike in one of the state recreational areas, and enjoyed the beauty of what has been an exceptional season of fall colors.
From Indianapolis I flew to St. Paul, Minnesota for a couple days of board meetings with Catholic Rural Life. One of the more enjoyable aspects of my episcopal ministry is serving as President of Catholic Rural Life and working with such a fine group of people. For the past two years, we have worked hard on a joint venture with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, writing a companion piece to their Vocation of the Business Leader. Hopefully, by the end of this year, we will publish The Vocation of the Agricultural Leader.
Another exciting initiative is an effort to start an Institute on Agriculture and Environment. At our June meeting, the Board approved initial efforts to establish an advisory board for the Institute, and at our November meeting, we received an update on their work, and approved further steps to define the structure and scope of the Institute.
Our time together concluded with a reception in downtown Minneapolis to develop our base of donors and spread the word about the great work and mission of Catholic rural Life.
Finally, while back in the Midwest, I am wrapping up my trip with a visit home to southern Indiana. I took a few hours yesterday to visit one of our seminarians, Clark Lenz at nearby St. Meinrad Archabbey and Seminary. We took a nice walk and had a very good visit. I am very grateful for everyone of our seminarians, as well as for the great work of St. Meinrad in forming and preparing young men for service to the Church as priests.
Most of the leaves have fallen from the trees, and this incredibly extended fall season is now finally giving way to more seasonal temperatures. I appreciate the opportunity to make a visit home to spend a little time with my parents and family. My mother continues to decline in her battle with Alzheimer’s. Pop is faithful and patient as he daily cares for mom, and my siblings are doing their best to drop in on a regular basis to provide support. God has blessed our family in so many ways, and the love grown over the years now continues to bear fruit as our family heads into a new stage of family life.
May God continue to bless all of you and your families!