On Sunday, September 1, I had the privilege of preaching at all of the Masses at the Cathedral of St. Mary in Cheyenne. Due to my travel schedule this, was the first time I had the opportunity to preach at the Cathedral in several months. It was great to see all of the parishioners again and catch up with a quite a number of folks that I had not seen in a while.
On September 3, I traveled to Wheatland for a catechist workshop. The catechists were ready for another year to begin and it was a pleasure to share in their enthusiasm.
On September 6, I joined the Cathedral Guild ladies for their monthly gathering. These ladies are some of the most generous and dedicated individuals I have ever met in my life. In that group of ladies I see the ultimate of ministry in the tradition of Mary and Martha. These ladies are people of deep faith and prayer, and they are certainly “doers” as well. The Cathedral community is blessed to have them in so many ways.
On September 8, I traveled to Sundance for an all-day catechist workshop. The northeast corner of the state is beautiful, and the volunteers from Newcastle, Sundance, Hulett, and Upton made it even brighter. The fog was extremely thick upon my arrival, but the light of Christ was able to break through nonetheless. People traveled a good distance to participate in this workshop, and the joy that was present in the group was exciting to see.
On September 9, I attended a meeting of the Laramie County Right to Life. This group organizes the annual March for Life here at the state capitol in Cheyenne as well as the annual “Celebrate Life” banquet. I work diligently to get Catholics to participate in these activities, and it has been a blessing to see these events grow year by year. Two years ago I had the privilege of being the keynote speaker at the “Celebrate Life” banquet. Last year the event was moved to a larger venue and the keynote speaker was Pam Tebow. Yes, that is Tim Tebow’s mom. Her presentation was excellent. This year the speaker will be Abby Johnson, author of Unplanned. It will be exciting to hear her testimony.
On September 11, I traveled to Rock Springs and then onto Pinedale. I visited Holy Spirit Catholic School as well as the parish. It is always good to stop in and visit with our dedicated Catholic school teachers and principals. They accomplish some amazing things on very limited budgets. Serving as the Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Cheyenne has been a learning (and rewarding) experience. I made it to Pinedale in time for a catechist workshop that evening. We were a small group gathered together, but it was powerful just the same. The excitement and enthusiasm of the catechists, from the rookies to the veterans, was contagious. Pinedale is blessed to have these selfless volunteers.
I got up early on the morning of September 12, to travel back to Cheyenne from Pinedale. Inclement weather, a flat tire, and a few obstacles with road construction blockages added to the excitement of returning home, but I made it back in time to gather with the ladies of the Bishop’s Guild at the Holiday Inn. I was the speaker for the evening and eagerly shared some thoughts about stirring into flame the gift of faith. These ladies, many of whom also belong to the Cathedral Guild, are pillars of faith. I often learn a great deal from observing them, so I consider it a huge privilege to be the one who speaks about the gift of faith.
From September 13—15, I went to Aurora, Colorado for the National Catholic Charismatic Leadership Conference. Please see my previous post for details about that experience. All I will say here is, WOW!
From September 17—19, we had our annual September Institute in Casper. This event is a gathering of all the clergy and many of the parish lay leadership. The focus this year was on the New Evangelization. It is my responsibility to oversee the logistics of this event, and one of the challenges is finding well-formed speakers who are also energetic and inspirational. The speakers this year did not disappoint and I was grateful for their presence. Dr. Michel Therrien and Mr. Jim Beckman from the Augustine Institute served us well.
I returned home for a day before departing again. I spent the weekend of September 21 and 22 in Buffalo. I was invited to preach at the weekend Masses and then conducted a parish-wide workshop on Sunday afternoon on the topic of bringing faith alive in our homes and in our parish. It was a well-attended event and the Knights of Columbus took good care of us with a bountiful brunch to get us started.
I spent several days in the office trying to catch up on the administrative tasks that continue to pile up while I am traveling. Then, on September 26, St. Mary’s School in Cheyenne held its first ever Foundation Breakfast. I will admit that I was not thrilled about being at the school by 6:45 A.M., but it was a great event and gave a good boost to the efforts of those responsible for raising funds for the Foundation. The generosity of so many people behind the scenes is truly heartwarming.
On September 27, I was back on the road again headed for Jackson. I couldn’t believe it, but the weather forecast was a concern. It’s only September. Come on! I drove in fog; then it was rain; then it was snow; then it was sleet—and a lot of it. Finally, the last 50 miles were free of the inclement elements. This made for a beautiful ride into the picturesque city of Jackson. The hand of the Creator is clearly evident in the beauty of the Tetons.
We had an all-day workshop for the catechists on Saturday, September 28. The pastor had told me that I would find an eager and receptive audience. He wasn’t kidding. The catechists in Jackson are on fire with the love of the Lord. Being with all of them fired me up. What a tremendous gift these people are to their parish. Simply wonderful! I returned to Cheyenne after the workshop. The 8 hour drive went by relatively quickly as I reflected upon the wonderful experience of the day.
On Sunday, September 29, I traveled to Fort Collins, Colorado to pray in front of Planned Parenthood for the first time during this current 40 Days for Life. I have been determined to make this a priority during the current vigil. It is so important that we continue to be vigilant in our efforts to remind people of the beauty and sanctity of each human life from conception through natural death.
In my travels, I try to articulate hope in every opportunity that I have to speak to groups of people, or one-on-one for that matter. What I experienced during this month was nothing short of amazing. I may have been articulating hope, but people were flooding me with joy in return. I saw the goodness of God in a multitude of ways and the joy of the Lord filled me in the process. Am I tired? Yes, a little. That is insignificant compared to the excitement I feel.
Thermopolis, here I come. It is time for a Parish Mission!