Sunday, February 22, 2015

Seeing the Church at Her Best

It's awesome to see the Church work like it is supposed to work.  This weekend I was on retreat with the students at the Boston University Catholic Center.  I'm completely wiped out (but am trying to keep myself awake for the 10pm Mass tonight!).  Here's what I witnessed:

  • Mr. Michael Lavigne who is the Director of Lifelong Formation and Parish Support for the Archdiocese of Boston gave four excellent talks and was loved by the students.  For me, the two most outstanding things about Michael is 1. He's a believer and 2. He's a husband and father of seven children.  It's great to have lay people like Michael working at the Archdiocese of Boston.
  • The students organized the retreat, developed the theme, provided witness talks and some very awesome skits, and kept the whole thing going.  They picked "Proclaim" as the theme.  The overall idea was that they want to know how to bring Christ to others and to do so by meeting people where they are at.  In particular, they want to be able to engage common human experiences--like suffering--with the truth of the Gospel. In other words, we all suffer.  So, that's a place where we can introduce the Gospel to others. (This is particularly necessary on a college campus that is increasingly secular and where religion is often pushed aside or reduced.  Instead of just bemoaning the fact that it is increasingly more difficult to attract other students to the Catholic activities on campus, they                                                                                                      want to know what we can do better and how to do it better.)
  • Bobby LeBlanc, one of our interns (and a BU Catholic Center alumnus) kept the whole retreat organized.  Need an answer?  Ask Bobby.  Need something done?  Bobby already did it.  Bobby has volunteered here for the past two years and it kills me that the BU Catholic Center doesn't have the funds to pay him a salary to keep him here.  If you're a pastor looking for someone to work in your parish, I'd steal Bobby in a heartbeat.  Or, if you're a wealthy person who wants to give me money to keep him at BU, even better!!!
  • Danny and Camille are a young married couple who are also alumni of the BU Catholic Center.  They play music here, direct the RCIA, and help out in a thousand different ways.  They led the music for the retreat.  It's pretty impressive to see the music program they pull together for the retreat.  (And, after a very long weekend, they're downstairs right now teaching RCIA).
  • We have two Jesuit scholastics working with us this year, one of whom is a transitional deacon.  Besides assisting in the liturgies, they spent most of the weekend slaving away in the kitchen cooking meals, preparing food, and cleaning dishes.
  • Fran, our Office Manager, does everything.  She was head chef for the weekend.  Along with her friend Dolores, Fran kept us alive.  Cooking for approximately 70 people for an entire weekend, is a big task.  They are awesome and generous.
  • Our FOCUS Missionaries also helped man the kitchen, provide spiritual support to the students, and help us with logistical needs.  Wesley, one of our missionaries gave a wonderful witness talk during the retreat.  
  • Some priests made a long trip up to hear confessions for everyone on retreat.  
  • While some students were running the retreat, they all participated in the retreat.  I was struck--yet again--by the way in which the people in this community help one another to follow Christ, to pray with one another, and to love and encourage one another.
  • I often say that I am clearly the beneficiary of those who were here on staff before me.  Over the years, the BU Catholic Center has had some people who really knew what they were doing when it came to Campus Ministry.  I am totally indebted to them.
If I forgot anyone . . . remember, I'm wiped out!  Sorry!

I need to be surrounded by witnesses.  I look at all of these people and am grateful for the opportunity to see the Church at her best.

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