Today I put quite a few miles on the car - I drove all the way to the other corner of the metro area to see off a dear friend of mine, Rich Dolan. Rich is on the left in the above picture, on the right is Fr. Joseph, a mutual friend of ours. (Yeah, you guessed it, that means the short person in the middle is me!).
We came to Fr. Joseph's parish this morning for Mass, to catch up over breakfast, and to say our good byes! Rich has been studying in the pre-theology program at Steubenville for the past two years, and while there discerned that he has a call to religious life. He has been accepted to the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, known in the USA primarily for their promotion of the Divine Mercy devotion and care of the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, MA. We are very excited for Rich, he will begin his expidited postulancy period on July 16, and enter the first year of novitiate on August 14th (!) in Washington DC. As it happens, another dear friend of mine, Sr. Maria Francesca, is making her first profession of vows as a Poor Clare nun (in Mother Angelica's order in Hanceville AL) on August 14th - it's a big day!
While I was very sad to see Rich go, and will miss him dearly (we have been friends ever since we both enjoyed Rome for the first time on a parish pilgrimage led by Fr. Joseph "way back" in 2003!) I am also very happy for him and grateful to God for giving him this beautiful path to sanctity. God willing, if this is indeed Rich's call, he will likely be ordained to the sacred priesthood in only five short years! I ask that you keep Rich and all those who are discerning in your prayers, he will need them in the coming weeks I am sure!
Speaking of good byes, I too must say good bye for a brief while - I am leaving tomorrow to fly to Ireland for a couple of weeks! I will be attending my friend Bernard's ordination to the sacred priesthood, please say some prayers for him this Saturday, July 8th - the ordination is at 3pm Irish time! While in Ireland, I will be staying with his family, and also (hopefully!) be seeing many of the sites and towns of that ancient isle! I am looking forward to it a great deal, and yes, of course I shall be bringing the camera along too. ;)
If I am able to do so, I will be posting photos and updates on my other blog (I guess I'll be a Roamin' Roman Catholic this time!). I will be returning to the States on July 19th, but will not be posting until August as I am leaving again right away to go on mission trip with some of the youth from the parish, and then attending the Steubenville North youth conference with more youth. Whew! It's going to be a crazy month, I ask for your prayers!