Friday, May 27, 2016



1. I might be in western Canada, but this presbyterate, like so many dioceses back home, is very internationalized. There are priests from the Philippines, Uganda, Nigeria, Trinidad, United States, India and England. 

2. These priests and this bishop do an incredible amount of driving. The bishop is known for driving six hours to confirm one young person. He had to make a run back to Kelowna for a ground breaking for a new school and then come back to the retreat. That was another six hour drive. That means that he drove twelve hours to be at this retreat. Several priests had to drive eight and nine hours to get to the retreat and back home. Hours and hours on the road is normal for getting to and from meetings and ministering to various parishes. 

3. Two of the scariest rides I have ever had in a car have been with the bishops of Kamloops and Nelson when I have been up here for retreats. It is "white knuckle" all the way. They drive fast - and I mean fast! In every turn it feels like we are about to flip over! I am glad I have not been up here when there has been ice and snow on the roads. As we speed along, I keep thinking about possible headlines back home, "Local priest and Canadian bishop die in a fiery car crash. Their car has never been found on the side of the mountain. The search continues." 

The third scariest ride in a car was down in the island of St. Vincent. It's not the speed down there, it's the crookedness and condition of the roads. Sitting on the left side of the car down there also adds to the scariness of the ride. Sitting on the left feels a whole lot like you are driving a car with no steering wheel or brake pedal. 

The fourth scariest ride in a car was being driven around Ireland by a priest who texted while driving, barely dodging animals in the road and having hedges raking across the side mirror as he, too, sped through the countryside on the left side of the road. 

4. There are several First Nation (we call them Native American) parishes and communities to be served. As you drive along, you can't help realizing that all this expanse of land used to be theirs. 

5. When priests do go home to visit families, many of them have to fly half way around the world to get there and half way around the world to get back.  They are making a great sacrifice for the Church. 

6. The priests up here know more about American politics than many people back home. I actually had to ask a Ugandan priest to help me recall the name of one of my US Senators! 

7. Enjoying the fraternity of priests from all over the world is an experience that I cannot describe. It is one of the greatest blessing of the last several years of my priesthood. I don't need to travel to experience the world. It keeps coming to my door. I am privileged and honored to be able to do this ministry of leading priest retreats and convocations in so many places. It has indeed been, and continues to be, a blessing. I feel so fortunate. 

8. I pray that God will give me the health to do this for several more years because the invitations keep coming. I am now booking in 2018. I got two more invitations to lead priest retreats this week. At this point it is all about health. 

9. Besides these great experiences, the money I make from doing this work is funneled to my volunteer work down in the islands of the Caribbean - yet another fascinating adventure and marvelous opportunity to experience another part of our wonderful, universal Catholic Church. Sometimes, when I think about where I came from, I am simply overcome with wonder and amazement. 

10. As wonderful as these experiences are, I look forward to being home again to rest up for a week before heading down to the Diocese of Memphis, Tennessee. After Memphis, I will get to spend about six weeks at home before heading out again for a busy fall season of more priest retreats and parish missions in the United States, Canada and Barbados.  

One good thing that makes the trip home a little easier - I can go through United States Customs in Calgary before I leave Canada instead of going through it in Chicago or Denver. 
If all the connections go well, I should be home by 11:30 pm tonight. 


Lot's of glitches getting home, but made it by 1:45 am. 

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