Monday, April 18, 2016


Part II 

"The Spiritual Leadership of the Parish Priest and Creating a Vocation Culture"

I am back in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, at the famous Skytop Lodge, to lead the second half of the Scranton Diocesan Presbyteratal Convocation. We will go from noon today, April 18 through noon Thursday April 21. I led the first half of the presbyterate in their convocation last year from September 13-17, 2015.

Culture Shock

Last week, I was in the beautiful  island missions of the Caribbean and this week I am in the beautiful Pocono mountains of upstate Pennsylvania. The difference is almost shocking. I enjoy both for different reasons. Here is a side-by-side comparison - not too far from reality, even if a bit dramatized. Both are beautiful in their own unique ways. I love the people down there and I hope to keep going back. 

A home on the island of Bequia, SVG, that I walked past last February. I asked permission to take the photo. He told me that it was OK. 

The Roman Catholic Pastoral Centre - Diocese of Kingstown SVG
Bishop's Residence, Diocesan Offices, Chancery Office and Retreat House.
It is a solid building in desperate need of renovation and updating. 

The kitchen of the Pastoral Centre.

One of the Guest Rooms at the Pastoral Centre. 
One of my dreams is to lead an effort to renovate and update the Pastoral Centre. 

This week at the Skytop Lodge in the Pocono Mountains of  Pennsylvania. A grand old hotel for the rich and famous of New York back in the 1930s. 

What I am doing, it occurred to me, is being a Robin Hood. The money I make doing priest retreats in the United States and Canada, I use for my travel expenses and projects in the missions of the Caribbean.

As tired as I was from the busy trip to Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad, I must say I enjoyed last night's peaceful sleep and coffee this morning on the porch of this grand old hotel. Maybe this is a good balance. I get rested up in places like this to be able to do what I do down in the islands. One thing for sure, I am not bored in my retirement, even though I go through a bit of cultural whiplash as I move around.

I must admit that I enjoy this luxury once in a while. I certainly did not grow up in it.  For the priests here, it is a treat, not a way of life. After working hard all year, they are treated to a week's retreat in this nice place. When I am in a place like this,  I wonder if I should have been born rich instead of merely smart and handsome! Haha! 

One end of my room.

The other end of my room. 

One of the many porches for relaxing. 

I now look forward to greeting the bishop and priests who will be arriving this afternoon. Last fall I was with half of the presbyterate. This time I will be with the other half of the presbyterate. 

The delightful bishop of the Diocese of Scranton. Bishop Joseph Bambera.

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