Does the title seem to be gobbledgook to you? Not if you look at the Southwest baggage tags on my suitcase. I left Tampa at 600pm on Wednesday night to attend an all day meeting at the headquarters of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington on Thursday. It was a meeting of the Committee on Budget and Finance which I have attended almost every year since 1984 and am once again a member on. The good news here, however, is that I stayed at the residence for priests working at the bishops’ conference and had a chance to spend some time with our own Father David Toups who is on the staff of the Conference in the areas of vocations, priestly formation, priestly life and ministry and deacons (talk about a “full plate”). Then at 520 pm yesterday afternoon, I flew from Baltimore Washington airport (BWI in the above) to Providence (PVD), rented a car and drove to my own alma mater, Blessed John XXIII National Seminary, to spend some time with Tim Corcoran, a seminarian for our diocese who is in his first year of theology studies. Father Len Plazewski always joins me for these annual seminary visitations so he is present here as well. Tim Corcoran is an attorney and served as a federal magistrate judge in Tampa for a number of years. Blessed Pope John XXIII is a seminary for older men pursuing the priesthood and they like Tim and Tim likes them.
I visited the graves of my parents at the parish cemetery in Canton, Massachusetts and my one surviving aunt and uncle prior to driving back to Providence for the flight home tonight. All the flights have been filled to the brim but they have been on time so far and for that I am grateful. This is a big week-end coming up for the diocese as we welcome to the Cathedral of St. Jude on Sunday afternoon all of the catechumens and candidates who can make it to the ceremony called “The Rite of Election.” I shake over 1000 hands every year and have to soak my hands in ice after it is over. But what nice pain to have.