The past few days I have worked on getting ready for Catholic Schools Week which begins on January 31. This is a week in which our Catholic schools can toot their own horn without looking pompous and arrogant. It is a beautiful opportunity to share with the wider community all of the good things happening in Catholic education.
I have also worked on preparing for the Rite of Election at the Cathedral on February 14. This is a wonderful celebration in which people from all over the state (weather permitting) converge upon the Cathedral of St. Mary to enter into this final phase of their journey into the Roman Catholic Church. The Lenten experience is profound for all people of faith, but for those preparing to enter into the Church at the Easter Vigil it is especially filled with emotion and great anticipation. The work that goes into preparing for these celebrations is worth every minute.
A week from today--as the flyer above indicates--I will be in Fort Collins, Colorado for an evening with men of faith from all over Northern Colorado. I am looking forward to this gathering because it is uplifting to be surrounded with other men seeking to live the Christian faith authentically. The men receive "fellowship, encouragement, and spiritual nourishment through dynamic and inspiring Catholic talks." As the speaker for the evening, I will do my best to live up to the expectations.
On Monday, January 18, I will celebrate the Martin Luther King holiday by leading a retreat for the faculty and staff of St. Laurence O'Toole Catholic School. They will journey from Laramie, Wyoming just a little south of the border and I will meet them at the beautiful Abbey of St. Walburga in Virginia Dale, Colorado. Although we go into another state and another diocese for many of our retreats, we are blessed to have access to the wonderful facility just an hour's drive from Cheyenne and even less from Laramie.
I will join the rest of the priests and deacons for our annual January Institute from January 19 through January 21. Sherry Weddell will be the presenter for our gathering. If you are not familiar with her, she has gained notoriety for her book, "Forming Intentional Disciples." It will be good to hear what she has to say. I have read her books, but this will be my first time to see her in person. I am looking forward to this gathering.
As soon as I return from that gathering we move right into the Pro-Life weekend. There is a holy hour at the Cathedral on Friday, January 22 at 7:00 P.M. and activities all day on Saturday, January 23.
On January 31, we move into Catholic Schools Week. That concludes on February 6. Also on February 6, I will be leading an RCIA retreat in preparation of entering into the Lenten experience of purification. We move into the holy season of Lent on Ash Wednesday, February 10. Then my schedule really picks up speed. I pray that I stay in good health this year during Lent and don't have to cancel any of my speaking commitments as I had to do last year.
What's on the agenda for Lent? A quick snapshot reveals a Bishop's Guild presentation on February 11. A Cursillo weekend is scheduled from February 11 through February 14. (I serve as the spiritual director for Cursillo.) On the afternoon of February 14 we will celebrate the Rite of Election. I then lead the chancery staff retreat on February 23, a women's retreat on February 27, a parish mission in Casper from March 5 through March 9, a parish mission in Rock Springs from March 12 through March 16, and head directly to Casper to participate in a day of recollection and the Chrism Mass on March 17. What happens next? We move into Holy Week.
It is going to be an awesome three months. If I don't see you until April please know that I am not simply vacationing in the Bahamas.