I just got back from being on the road for three weeks, and let me tell you, it’s good to finally be home! Actually, it’s probably best if my mom doesn’t read that, because she always corrects me when I say “I’m home” when I’m calling from somewhere other than the house that I grew up in. She shakes her head and tells me “home is where your mother is.” Well, there’s definitely truth to that…Certainly our heavenly home is where our Mother Mary is! But home can also be the place where we are at peace, and where we can most be ourselves. WhenI talk to folks about life in Holy Cross, that image of home is what I use most often – for in truth we have many homes if we belong to a religious community.
My travels took me all over the west – first to Arizona where I vacationed with two of my brothers, including newly ordained Bishop Bill Wack. He was able to get a bit of time off (even as a bishop!), and so we relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company. It’s always great to be with my brothers, because it’s (mostly!) a peaceful time, where I feel very much at home. Since Bill is still part of the Congregation of Holy Cross, I can connect with him on two different levels, which is neat. My second stop was to the University of Portland, where I helped lead a retreat for several men who are interested in discerning God’s call. I think it was a help to them, and it was a joy for me to give them some tools that might be helpful for discernment. Part of the retreat was spent with other members of Holy Cross, who told their vocations story, and spent time with the retreatants in prayer and sharing meals. For me, I was home, because I was with my brothers in Holy Cross.
My final trip was to Colorado for a high school vocations event. That was a good day with 40 speakers who represented religious communities, dioceses, and the Marriage vocation. We have a parish in the area (three, actually – Sacred Heart in Colorado Springs, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Manitou Springs, and Holy Rosary in Cascade), and I was able to spend some time with parishioners that I knew from when I was assigned there. I also got to stay at the novitiate, which is in Cascade, just up the Ute Pass from Colorado Springs. Again, this was just like being home with the formation staff at the novitiate, and visiting our local parish and talking to the Holy Cross priests there.
And now, here I am, back at the seminary, where I’m most definitely home. As much as it can be fun to be on the road and see folks I know, it’s always good to return to be with my brothers in Holy Cross. With them, I can strive to be the best priest and religious that I can be, and I will always be home.