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Packing for South America

I’m in the last throes of packing for my trip to South America, and it isn’t pretty.

Main reason to go: going to the Profession of a vocation from our Parish, wonderful young man, into the order of the Family of Jesus, Healer.

Fam­ily of Jesus

We are a fam­ily of priests, broth­ers and sis­ters ded­i­cated to Christ and His Church, bound by pri­vate vows of obe­di­ence, chastity, poverty and mar­tyr­dom, pray­ing to be healed and formed into a fam­ily by the Divine Fam­ily (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) in order to live out in a prophetic man­ner our bap­tismal call­ing to fol­low Jesus Christ and to be his instru­ments of heal­ing for fam­i­lies, includ­ing not only the indi­vid­ual domes­tic fam­ily, but also the broader fam­ily of the Church and of society.

And for whatever reasons that exist, I’m always nuts about hanging out in the Andes. I really need to meet more people who love to do the same thing. So while I’m in South America and hanging out in the Andes, I’m heading to La Paz, Bolivia, where I’ll be visiting a mission by the name of Suti Sana.

Sutisana

Offering Employment for Survivors of Prostitution and Trafficking

One of my friends who worked in the missions in South America for 5 years and who heads back much more often than I, is friends with the couple who run this mission – they met in the language school in Cochabamba.

My time in La Paz is short this go round, but I’m looking forward to learning more about the work they do with human trafficking in South America.

I usually pack too much and am trying to keep things light. I’m tired of lugging around – luggage.

Then it’s down into the jungles of Peru, into Puerto Maldonado, and the wonderful community there. I don’t care if it’s hot as blazes, I love their life of prayer, the work they do, the lives they lead, the joy they exude. Being cut off from civilization definitely has its advantages.

But for now, it’s time to retire to some moments of prayer. And then pack things, either in the suitcase or into the large bins where things will have to wait until I return and figure out the storage situation here in the house of no closets.

Closets are for the weak. Who needs them anyway. Out with it all, I say!

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On Being Busy in these Days of Jeremiah

Requiem Ready

A while ago I was getting the rectory ready for a visiting priest to stay, and noticed that the place had gotten uncharacteristically, chaotically even, out of order. Tumbleweeds were blowing down the hallways when the doors were opened, vines were creeping in around the corners of doors, dishes in the sink, pots, and pans on the counter.

It started to dawn on me that I was staying too busy. My wheels were spinning in overdrive, my exercise was nonexistent and while I was staying very busy I wasn’t getting everything done by a long shot.

To cut to the chase, after the great rat infestation of winter ’18 and the subsequent gutting and remodelling, the same thing started to happen – but this time mostly because things are simply still in boxes, and what little storage room there was in the house is now gone, save for the addition of cabinets in the kitchen.

So I’ve more or less given up on it’s being picture perfect anytime soon. And while I’m away I know everyone and their cousin will probably stroll through and see the kitchen remodel, and marvel at how out of order the Pastor’s rectory is. One no longer refers to it as “that rat infested hellhole”, thanks be to God. I mean it’s not all that bad, but you won’t be seeing it in Southern Living anytime soon.

It’s penitential living at it’s near finest. And we’re all about penance here – atoning for past sins and omissions, straying from the practice of virtue as we do at times into the realm, of vice. Then back again in repentance of heart.

We’ve simply grown as a Parish. We have many more people involved in the life of the Parish, a lot more activity taking place. More receipts to file, more schedules to organize, more letters and emails to type up, phone calls to return, house calls and hospital calls. Sacraments, the salvation of souls, Jesus Christ the Word made Flesh daily upon the altar of our salvation.

It’s what we do, but I’m still finding the balance as the work has increased. Triaging, delegating, asking for advice – and lots of apologizing. Lots of organizing.

Then there’s the situation in the Church which took the wind out of everyone’s sails. That changes the big picture and makes one reconsider many things. There is no defense for the indefensible, and the ongoing avoidance from the top isn’t helping anything. The news cycle may be over, but very real effects are being seen in people’s actions, prayers and works.

People are tired of being lied to by the men and women of God. Mostly men. And mostly men who preyed upon minor men. Feelings of betrayal, anger, mistrust. The rug gets pulled from under you once more. Will it stop? Will Priests, including myself, strive to grow in personal sanctity and holiness? Or toss it all in and go teach somewhere? It’s been a rough time for many Priests, I can assure you. Demoralizing. Challenging.

Prayer and appropriate exercise will get one through many things, relying upon the promises of Jesus Christ. And returning phone calls, emails, tending to the business of the Parish and packing up for a trip whilst making the rectory presentable. I pray I might grow in wisdom, charity and humility before the Lord God, and one day glorify Him in His presence forever.

Conform me to your will O Lord, teach me the ways of your heart that I might be made pure, and create a memorial of goodness to the glory of you most holy name.

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A Cake for Alyssa

Alyssa's Cake

Aside from a busy day here – prayer, homilies, Masses, scheduling, laundry, packing for South America, reading, heading to the gym for a workout, looking over photo layouts (because that obviously fits right in with everything else here,) – I came across this picture of a smash cake.

I know. Everyone but me has heard of them and knows all about them because my niece had to explain them to me when she asked me to make one for her youngest daughter, Lexie.

What can I say, I was in a baking phase and had discovered the Wilton 1m piping tip which makes things so seriously easy that I could actually do them myself. I made one for Lexie, in the bright pink they wanted.

And then I also made one for Alyssa, who’s favorite color is also pink, and this is how it turned out.

This falls into the virtue of charity, as in acts done out of love – not as in acts done out of helping those in most need of your help. Because Alyssa and Lexie are just awesome kids.

If you need any advice on using a Wilton 1m piping tip or similar models, please feel free to ask. Better yet, just head over to Michael’s, or Hobby Lobby, and play around with it.

It’s easy as changing your oil or racking a set of squats. Except it’s easier.

And in your mercy, say a prayer for my niece’s daughters from time to time, as their mother died just over a year ago. The Lord tests those he loves with many afflictions, and he surely must love our family.

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1st Birthday Smash Cake Tutorial + Simple Vanilla Cake recipe – Belle of the Kitchen

Celebrate your little one’s first birthday by making a fun and yummy smash cake! It’s easier than you might think to make one at home, especially with this simple vanilla cake recipe. My precious girl turned one last weekend! I seriously cannot believe how fast the past year has gone by.