Friday, June 17, 2016


We concluded a second St Michael's Youth Conference that can only be termed "highly-successful." Morning Prayer at 8:00, followed by packing and checking out of our rooms, and a concluding Solemn Mass (votive of St Michael & All Angels), with several family members of our "Michaelites" in attendance. We posed for pictures, cleaned up various liturgical-musical accoutrements, loaded up the YFNBmobile, said our goodbyes, and headed home. As our wheels left the grounds of Our Lady of the Snows, by sabbatical formally began. There is still a non-unsubstantial list of loose ends to be tied up, but I will take care of those from home over the next few days. But this will be my final post in this space until October 16. I begin my Camino de Compostela pilgrimage on August 12, and may post something on Facebook either sporadically or regularly for the ensuing 40 days, but nothing here. Have a great summer and early fall. And do pray for me.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Thursday (Joseph Butler)

  • When is McDonald's for breakfast the "healthier" alternative? When what's being served where you are is a protein-free assortment of carbohydrates. So Brenda and I made an early-morning McDonald's run.
  • 8:00 Morning Prayer.
  • From 8:45 until 11:20, we were in teaching mode: First Fr Halt making his second of two presentations on the Book of Genesis (Chapter 1-3 thereof, to be specific ... and it was quite fine), then YFNB on the final installment of my four-part series, focusing on how believing that Jesus really did rise from the dead is actually the most rationally plausible response to the documentary and historical data on the subject that we have.
  • Choir practice in the chapel, followed by Mass for the lesser feast of Joseph Butler. I presided and Fr Tony Clavier preached.
  • Lunch was at a simple picnic pavilion at a state park in East St Louis, and consisted by pizza, chips, animal crackers, and Gatorade. The actual air temperature hovered in the upper 90s, and, with the humidity, the "misery index" was ... up there.
  • The heart of the afternoon was spend around the backyard pool of St Michael's, O'Fallon parishioners Mark and Audrey Waight in Swansea.
  • Back to the ranch to clean up and report to Christ the King Chapel for the final of Fr Baumann's fine presentations on prayer, followed by Evensong.
  • Dinner in our customary Guild Hall location.
  • Back to the chapel, where Frs Baumann and Wetmore taught the kids how to prepare for and make a confession. Then, while the Blessed Sacrament was exposed in a monstrance on the altar for adoration, there was an opportunity for those who wished to to actually make their confession, while everyone else kept vigil in the chapel.
  • The evening was concluded with the customary St Michael's Conference tableau of the battle of St Michael and all his angelic forces against the evil powers that rebel against God. Tomorrow, the conference concludes with a late-morning Solemn Mass.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wednesday (Evelyn Underhill)

  • Usual St Michael's Youth Conference morning routine: Morning Prayer at 8:00, followed by a teaching period (Fr Halt on the Book of Genesis), followed by my own teaching session, this one on the subject of Revelation (not the book of the Bible bearing that name, but the notion that there are some things about God that we would never know unless God revealed them to us).
  • I celebrated the Mass for the lesser feast of Evelyn Underhill. Fr Baumann preached.
  • Lunch in our usual location, followed by some mandatory "FOB" (flat on back) time for the youth. (Naps aren't just for kindergarteners anymore.)
  • At 3:15, we convened for another of Fr Baumann's presentations on prayer, followed, about an hour later, by Evensong.
  • We then carpooled to the Fairview Heights Metrolink station and made our way across the river to Busch Stadium for an encounter between the St Louis Cardinals and the Houston Astros. (The Astros won, which is what a handful of us were hoping for.)
  • One of the sweetly memorable moments of the day happened as we were at the Metrolink station organizing our transit back to Our Lady of the Snows. Fr Ben Hankinson called the kids together and, with three or four eBCP apps between us, we managed to pray Compline right there in the area between the platform and the parking lot. None of the kids died of embarrassment and people walked by and could see that we were obviously praying.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Tuesday (St Basil)

  • Morning Prayer (said) at 8:00.
  • Another long and excellent teaching on the sacraments from Mother Beth Maynard, with a break in the middle and a break at the end.
  • 45 minutes from YFNB on "How do we know stuff?"--one might say, an introduction to epistemology without using that word. This was a followup to yesterday's teaching on what it means to be a human person (theological anthropology) and a setup to tomorrow's presentation on Revelation. The responses from the kids confirmed (and then some) my suspicion that it is not only necessary to teach the content of the Christian and Catholic faith to our young folks, but to provide them with some intellectual/philosophical infrastructure that can subvert the cultural miasma of Cartesian subjectivism in which they swim.
  • Choir practice, followed by Mass for the lesser feast of St Basil the Great. I presided, Mother Beth preached.
  • Lunch in the usual place--the room adjacent to our meeting area.
  • About 90 minutes of down time--must needed by YFNB!
  • A expedition to a nearby bowling alley. Great fun. We all played two games, and wore ourselves out.
  • Evensong back at the ranch, followed by friend chicken dinner back at the ranch.
  • Another superb teaching on prayer by Fr Baumann.
  • The movie Inside Out, which illustrates the problem I am trying to counter in my talks.
  • Compline.

Monday, June 13, 2016


  • Continental breakfast in the lounge area of our guest accommodations at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville.
  • Morning Prayer at 8am.
  • The rest of the morning was consumed by a superb presentation on the sacraments (the first of two) by Mother Beth Maynard, followed by a 40-minute presentation from YFNB on "What is it to be a human being?", which might be more succinctly described as "an introduction to theological anthropology." Only I didn't use that expression with the kids!
  • Votive Mass of the Holy Trinity at noon, at which I presided and Fr Wetmore preached, preceded by 30 minutes of "choir practice"--learning/reviewing some of the service music for both Mass and Evensong.
  • Lunch catered by the shrine staff in the same building as our meeting area.
  • The afternoon was devoted to recreation. We car-pooled to a rock wall gym in St Louis. With my nearly pathological fear of heights, I didn't even make a pretense. But I was certainly a watcher, encourager, and picture taker.
  • Having arrived back of OLOS to clean up, we prayed (sang) the evening office on the late side (most of 6:45 by the time we got underway), then braved a torrential thunderstorm to make our way to a pizza den (yes, that's what it calls itself) in Fairview Heights for dinner. 
  • We got back around 9pm, and I was proud of these youth for still being awake and attentive to Fr Bauman's second of five presentations on prayer. This was capped off by Compline, and we were back in our rooms by 10:00. A full day.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Lord's Day (IV Pentecost)

Arose in my Joliet hotel room in time to get on the road and headed southward for the 10am Eucharist at St Matthew's, Bloomington, where I just sat in a pew and worshiped with the congregation. Then I got to spend about three hours at home--some of it resting--before Brenda and I headed south once again, this time with the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows as our destination, for the beginning of the second annual Diocese of Springfield St Michael's Youth Conference. We'll be here until midday Friday.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

St Barnabas

Home is sweet, but this taste of sweetness was fleeting. I was unpacked and repacked and back on the road before 11:30, headed back north. By 3:00pm I was at St Paul's Church in Riverside (suburban Chicago--interestingly, a few yards from where I lived for the year that I should have been in kindergarten, but wasn't, because Riverside public schools didn't offer it in the 1950s) ... yes, out of my jurisdiction, but I was there with the permission of the Bishop of Chicago, since the occasion was the (transitional) diaconal ordination of Matthew Dallman, and St Paul's was Matthew's home parish before he was adopted by the Diocese of Springfield. It was a celebration that was splendid in every way, despite being in a church where the air conditioning wasn't keeping up with the 90+ degree heat. After the ordination, and a subsequent celebration in a nearby Irish pub, I headed back south as far as Joliet, where I am camped out at my home-away-from-home, the Hampton Inn.