"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Monday, September 26, 2005

It seems a fitting occasion...

Given that I returned home yesterday from a Eucharistic congress, I can attest to the topicality of the following joke:

"The Work of the Parish Priest"

During a Eucharistic Congress, a number of priests from different orders are gathered in a church for Vespers. While they are praying, a fuse blows and all the lights go out.
The Benedictines continue praying from memory, without missing a beat.
The Jesuits begin to discuss whether the blown fuse means they are dispensed from the obligation to pray Vespers.
The Franciscans compose a song of praise for God's gift of darkness.
The Dominicans revisit their ongoing debate on light as a signification of the transmission of divine knowledge.
The Carmelites fall into silence and slow, steady breathing.
The parish priest, who is hosting the others, goes to the basement and replaces the fuse.

Source: http://catholicfire.blogspot.com/

Joking aside, it was a marvelous occasion, attesting to the vibrancy of the Catholic Faith in a region of the country where Catholics are still a small minority.

The Fellowship of Catholic Scholars meeting, held concurrently in Charlotte, was also a great tonic for me. I got to revisit with some old acquaintances, such as Msgr. William Smith, who is still teaching moral theology at St. Joseph's, Dunwoodie, New York's archdiocesan seminary; and Msgr. Michael Wrenn of the same diocese, now retired, who for three decades was a major force in American catechetics. I like to think that's why he hired me to teach a few courses at Dunwoodie back in the 1980s! I also got to meet and talk substantively with two men I have long read and admired: Prof. Ralph McInerny, who recently celebrated his 50th anniversary teaching philosophy at Notre Dame and remains as sharp and witty as ever; and Scott Hahn, the Catholic biblical theologian who often writes for a popular audience and has all the right enemies on the left and the right. Finally, I had a long chat over drinks with the Hitchcocks, Helen and James—the former a liturgical road warrior of Adoremus note, the latter a historian and apologist to whom orthodox Catholics need no introduction.

And those are just the highlights. I made some good new contacts, enjoyed a great banquet, and even got a few job leads to pursue. Thank you, Holy Spirit.
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